Saturday, September 24, 2016
“I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared: "Go down again - I dwell among the people.” ― John Henry Newman (author of “Amazing Grace”)
Many, many people do not believe in a God that gets His hands dirty (so to speak). They do not believe in a God who plays an active role in their lives, but rather believe in a God more like Santa Claus who keeps a list of who’s naughty or nice and rewards or punishes at the end. Or they believe that prayers to God are like purchasing lottery tickets—they don’t expect to win, but know that if the ticket isn’t purchased, there is no hope at all. I’m not one of those people. I believe in a God that is active and who interferes if necessary in my life. I cannot be convinced that God doesn’t send “thank-you” notes or that He doesn’t push and nudge me towards good and away from evil. You can believe however you want, I don’t insist that you believe the way I do, but I like the idea of a God who is ever-present and ever active in my life.
The people who don’t believe in an interactive God set great store in coincidence. Coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection (according to Webster). I just flat don’t believe in coincidence and would take the word out of my dictionary if I could. I have had too many personal experiences of God working actively in my life and know that everything I have done so far was to prepare me for finishing my life serving God in Africa. Let me give you an example. If you read yesterday’s blog, you would know that we are frequently depressed and that packages from home help us a lot. After I posted yesterday’s blog, a package arrived from home. It had some great stuff in it, but most importantly, it had prescription medication for me that I can’t get here. Now, I, as usual, sent an immediate email to the sender to tell her the package arrived intact. She was happy and then said, “What about the other package?” She had mailed two just four days apart, so another package from home will arrive next week. Okay, see where I’m going with this? Last night, I got an email from a friend and former parishioner in Boston telling me that he had gotten a big box together and wanted to know if I needed anything else before he mailed it next week. That would be another package that will arrive in about a month. Let’s recap: I write that we are a bit down and would love a package from home and immediately get one, have another coming next week, and another in a month. That’s three (3) packages I didn’t know about, one coming within hours of my posting the blog, another coming within a week of the blog, and another big one coming in a month. How can I not believe in a God who listens and answers in the same day? You can talk for a long time and make many convincing arguments for coincidence, but I simply won’t believe them. God listens. God answers. God is active in my life, and I truly believe God will be active in yours if you but let Him.