Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Monday, December 15, 2014

Just to be near to you.

My heart was a jumbled cord of tightly wound contradiction. It had been that way for awhile.

I winced through the moments just before the Thanksgiving meal, when thanksgiving was offered. It was all so confusing to me. As 36 people linked hands in my home to give thanks, I couldn't stop thinking about those who were without even a portion of the abundance we possessed on that esteemed day. And all the other days.

In the ever evolving spiritual quandary in which I find myself, I must admit, prayer has become a most troublesome state of affairs for me.

What shall I ask for?

Don't I already have enough?

How do I thank God for the food set before me when two children are sitting at my table because they were born to parents who could not afford to nourish them?

Did their scarce lot occur at the hand of God?

Does my bountiful one fall from the same hand?

If God gave life to those exquisite babies I relish so dearly, did He also not allow my last one to draw its first breath?

Was that precious child's demise His doing?

What about those born to mothers in no condition to raise them?

Do I give thanks for my existence of privilege, or is it a hindrance to higher objectives?

Why have I suffered so little while others have endured such extraordinary pain?

I have done nothing to deserve my good fortune.

They have done nothing to deserve their lack thereof.

The war of injustice rages throughout the the whole burdened world.

Is God pulling the strings on the entire affair or is He simply standing by, watching it all play out?

I used to think I knew. His will seemed crystal clear. Now, I am anything but sure.

If I openly give Him credit for the glorious good, must I also attribute the wretched horrendous to Him? Is that the notion of Sovereignty? That seems to be the prevalent belief in the churches to which I have been part.

Therefore, if He blesses the work of my hands so that I reap excessive bounty, is He, at the same time cursing the labor of another's?

I've begun to wonder if rather than asking where He is, what His role in all of this is, if it would be enough just to accept that He is near - in, through, over, under, above and beneath and inside and out all of the every single thing.

Could I, as I stand in my living room on with friends and family on The Most Thankful Day of the Year - with people ranging from a wonderful, servant oriented, retired  Baptist minister to a generous, benevolent family of Atheists, simply thank God for being here...near...present, here for the excessive and here for the scant?

Could He be near to them all, the wealthy and the poor and the uplifted and the broken hearted, to the one whose spirit is soaring and to the one so low they cannot bear to look up. Just near to them, less a puppeteer and more a Mere Divine Presence. 

Could I offer a prayer of thanksgiving to a mysterious God I cannot fathom, but I know is here, on earth, near enough to every one of us?

I think, maybe I can.

"As I understand it, to say that God is mightily present even in such private events as these does not mean that he makes events happen to us which move us in certain directions like chessmen. Instead, events happen under their own steam as random as rain, which means that God is present in them not as their cause but as the one who even in the hardest and most hair-raising of them offers us the possibility of that new life and healing which I believe is what salvation is." - Frederick Buechner

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