“Please provide proof/evidence of your Sky Daddy,” went one of the comments on my blog post last week, entitled “Heaven Bound or Earth-bound.” From time to time I get unbelieving or even snide remarks in the comments to my blog posts, and mostly I don’t answer them. But I paid attention to this one, because I can’t give hard facts or observable changes on what being a follower of Jesus means. So, I wrote back to him of the peace I feel no matter what is happening in my life, of the healing of old wounds that God has facilitated in me, the calming of angers and fears that I had carried with me forever, and the purpose in my life that has grown out of all this healing. I wrote, too, of the gratitude and joy I feel daily in my life because of all that God has helped me with, of how I feel relieved to live in the truth about myself—about how freeing that is. But it’s not like I can photograph these changes and show him or anyone else—there is no proof or evidence that could attest to them. It is just my own personal experience of what has happened in my life in the 39+ years since I gave my life to Christ.
It’s not that I am never thrown off of the peace; I do struggle for a while to adapt to changes in my life. The worst time for that was six years ago when I moved with my daughter and her family to Baltimore and back within nine months, settled into a temporary apartment and then moved into a townhome, a permanent residence for me—that was three moves in a year and a half. It took me quite a few months for me to feel like I was steady on my feet again.
With the isolation of the coronavirus it took me just a week—another reader had commented on my post, “God calls us out of slavery to the world:” “What do you mean, God never condemned slavery?” As I looked into the Bible for what God said in total about slavery, I was hooked on the research and pretty soon realized that there was a book to be written about slavery. So, it has not been a stretch for me to spend the time at home researching this book. An easy segue.
I do live in gratitude for all that God has done in my life. Even the hard stuff like growing up in a hell-fire-and-damnation church, I am grateful for today, because I wouldn’t be doing the work I do if I hadn’t had to resolve all the negativity about God in me that resulted from that early church. For the last 10 years I have kept a gratitude journal every night, thanking God for all He has done in my life that day. Just having that practice opened up my eyes to see all the help He is giving me as I go through my days. And that leads to joy and comfort and peace, because I now know how directive, how helpful, how comforting, how faithful, how loving, how forgiving He is.
Proof or evidence is not needed when I know how influential He has been in my life. I no longer have to worry about anything. As flawed as I am, I can look to all the flawed humans that God used in the Bible to spread His word: a murderer-Moses, one who ran from His call -Jonah, a brother despised by his siblings-Joseph, a king who murdered a man so that He could claim his wife-David, a man who denied Jesus three times-Peter, and one who had harassed and punished the people who followed Jesus-Paul. God doesn’t need perfect people, only dedicated ones. He certainly doesn’t think like we do when choosing His people; He converts us into the people He needs to do His work.
Anyone can be chosen; anyone can qualify for His work. And so, we, too, can begin to look at others, ones we might have judged before we saw this truth, with new eyes, looking for potential rather than flaws, for strengths rather than weaknesses, with love rather than judgment. This is another way that we change under His direction, because love is stronger than hate, seeing with God’s eyes makes us into a wholly new person, unbound by the cares and judgments of this world. And so, we begin to see the potential, the possibilities, the created depths of the person before us; we see the gifts, not the deficits, the human released rather than the earth-bound, the light, the Christ shining out of them, not just the human figure.
And there again is the joy that God brings, because we can then celebrate with the person, bring them into the fold and watch them emerge into a whole new creation, just as God has done for us. This is what love does—it frees, it explores the possibilities, it values all that has gone before, it forgives, it deals with mercy and justice, it takes us to a whole new level of seeing.
Isn’t it easier to see all this after months of isolation, of having to give up many of our distractions? Can’t we see more clearly now how we want to live and to be, since the coronavirus gifted us with this time, this space and this opportunity to see things as God sees them? We can be grateful, too, for the gifts that the coronavirus has brought us in a world-wide pandemic. Can you imagine how this time off from our everyday lives will change human beings across the world? Can you imagine how it will change your life, too? How God has made all this happen?
Questions to ponder over the week: What have I learned about myself, about my life, about God during the pandemic? When life goes back to “normal,” what will I remember from this time? Have my priorities changed? Have I spent more time with God? Is my life more in balance as I go forward? What have I learned?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who will apply the lessons learned from the pandemic and from all that God is trying to show us in our lives. May we go in love with justice and mercy in all that we do.
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Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts 2x a month. 5.18.20s is entitled, “Living in the Presence of God.”
I do want to apologize to those who are seeking to befriend me, I just don’t have time to answer your comments. I am so sorry.