June 2019

God, where are you?

It’s very hard to believe in God these days. God doesn’t seem to do much for someone who is supposed to be – well – God. I mean, where is all the wave-parting and thunder? Why doesn’t God prove invincible presence? In short, why is God so silent in a world that God is supposed to oversee?

Obvious really: God is non-existent. Except, except, that silence does not prove imaginary does it? It may be very frustrating; infuriating even; it may mean God is happy in a god-fluffiness world where all is great, or maybe it’s all too much for the Old Guy.

“Get up, God! Are you going to sleep all day?
Wake up! Don’t you care what happens to us?
Why do you bury your face in the pillow?
Why pretend things are just fine with us?
And here we are—flat on our faces in the dirt,
held down with a boot on our necks.
Get up and come to our rescue.
If you love us so much, Help us”
– said someone just like us long, long, ago (we call it Psalm 44).

When God doesn’t intervene in our expectations and heartaches we learn with visceral pain that God is not the one we thought we were obliged to imagine. So is there something beyond this? Here’s the thing – God invites us to develop relationship: because in the scariness of affinity some semblance of sense and purpose begins to be discerned; helplessness fades (a little); action and voice are given power (a bit). How does that work?

Jesus had an annoying habit of wandering off. There he was forcing people to answer their own questions or calming storms and then – off again to some quiet spot to ‘spend time with his Father’. It was annoying because there was so much to do, so many people demanding his time; and finding him again just wasted time. Didn’t it?

Bizarre and counter-intuitive as it may seem there can be no effective ‘doing’ unless the stillness of Presence is first encountered and then nurtured. This is what Jesus demonstrated; this is what our heart echoes. This is how God now works.
God is not silent; he just (currently) acts in ways different to our learned expectations: but he acts none-the-less. The listening Church is proof of this. Action and voice are given power to breathe the life of God into a world of need. God may not be as silent as we think — but we do need to work on the listening.

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