Job 28:20-21 – Whence then comes wisdom? And where is the place of understanding? It is hid from the eyes of all living, and concealed from the birds of the air. (RSV)
A few Sundays ago, our minister asked us to think about (and share if we so chose) a God moment that we'd had at some point in our lives. I wasn't sure at first what she meant, but fortunately she went on to explain that for this purpose, a God moment was a point in time or a situation when we were totally struck by or overcome with the all-encompassing presence of God in our lives.
Now, I have to admit that I have had many such moments. But the one that jumps at me was an incident from my early days in social services. It was a stormy January night, and a number of young people had crashed at my home after some strenuous shovelling and car pushing to help motorists head for home. The buses had stopped running, so they decided to stay put until morning.
Most had drifted off and fallen asleep under quilts wherever they found a spot. One young man, however, who had survived a horrendous situation in his life a few years back, began asking me about my faith, my reasons for working in social services, and other related questions. He had obviously had a Christian upbringing and education, but he admitted that the recent past events had taken away his belief. How could a God Who made us and loved us allow terrible things to happen? I told him that people's actions that harmed others were not part of God's plan. God has given us free choice, and unfortunately, sometimes, the choices and actions of one person or a group of people harm others. I went on to say that evil is a very real presence in our earthly lives, and that we cannot begin to understand why God doesn't stop bad things from happening, other than that sometimes, good does come out of evil.
Isaiah 55:8-9 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (RSV)
We were both very emotional, and I confess that I was choked up with unshed tears. It was obvious to me that he wanted desperately to believe but didn't know how to release his hurt, anger, and loss to find peace. I asked if he would pray with me, as I sought help from God to tell me what to say. As we prayed, I felt a loving, warm, and secure feeling arising in me, and I acknowledged to God that I didn't have the answers or words to give to my young friend, only that we both were asking that he find peace, healing, and a restoration of his faith.
Afterwards, he was calmer; he didn't say anything about what had happened; and after that night, I didn't hear from him again. I did hear through other sources that he had returned to his home state. But as for me, the whole experience was a wonderful affirmation of my faith and beliefs.
I hope and pray that he was able to find himself back in the arms of the Almighty, and able to find forgiveness for all who shared his misfortunes. As with many who have experienced great trauma and loss, the need to forgive and to be forgiven is perhaps the hardest hurdle to cross in the process of healing.
Prayer: Lord God, forgive us for our human frailties and hardness of heart. Help us to know forgiveness and to forgive, that in so doing, we may know Your peace and find healing. Thank You for always being with us. May we know and accept the peace and joy of Your forgiveness and salvation. Through Christ Jesus, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder" (Lyrics)