Where Is God?

Where is God?

by Janet Stobie

Prayer Brings Change.
Prayer Brings Change.

News from Syria makes me cringe. Chemical warfare frightens all of us. Where is God in the chaos, the destruction? I pray, I plead, I beg, “Please God, stop the horror.”

I wait for God’s answer. I hear silence.

I believe God’s Spirit works through us and through others. I believe God is there in Syria, walking with the people. I believe God is there in the international aid that is happening. “Doctors Without Borders” are there. I trust that many other non-governmental organizations, like the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, are there, helping.

The news brings tales of possible intervention by U.S., Britain, and France. I ask, “Is this your wish, God? Do you want us to respond with more death?”

I continue to pray. I continue to pour out my love and compassion for the people of Syria.

I can trust. The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that God has acted in the past to care for the people of Israel when they wandered in the wilderness, or endured conquest and exile. God will act today.

There are also struggles close to home. Family, friends, and native peoples here in Canada, too, live in chaos. We don’t experience open warfare and chemical weapons. Instead, our terror is buried, often hidden. Abuse, neglect, debt, poverty, and hunger all exist here.

Once again I beg God to fix it. I wait for God’s answer.

New laws are passed. Some treaties are ratified. Some children rescued. Food banks are opened. Small steps are taken. God is present. God is acting through us here today. I will continue to pray because I know the story of God’s action.

Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness…I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”  (Jeremiah 31: 2-3)

 

Can We Ever Be Perfect?

Can We Ever Be Perfect?

Seeking perfection is Paralyzing.
Seeking perfection is Paralyzing.

I finished the first draft of my novel Fireweed five years ago. Since then, I have read and rewritten parts of it many times. I have paid for two professional edits as well. Two weeks ago, I sat up until 4:00 a.m. giving Fireweed its last read through. I still found simple mistakes and spots to improve. It wasn’t perfect, I’m sure, but the time had come to abandon the task and send Fireweed to the publisher.

Our lives are like that manuscript. We do our best and we make mistakes. We ask forgiveness. We learn a better way. We live some more and find that transformation is not complete. We’re not yet perfect. I’m sure on the day I die, I will look at my life and find places that need to be rewritten. I will still need forgiveness.

Our Christian faith encourages me never to abandon my efforts at improvement. Even though I cannot attain perfection on my own, God’s love will bring perfection into my life. God came in Jesus to show us God’s unconditional love. From the agony of the cross, Jesus continued to love and forgive, continued to offer yet another opportunity for transformation.

Once printed, Fireweed’s remaining errors will be frozen in time for all to see. The blessing of our Christian faith is that God never abandons us. Yes, death will come to all of us, but the victory of resurrection means God’s love transforms us, washes us clean, prepares us with perfection for the life to come. I’m grateful for that assurance. It gives me courage to try again tomorrow, never to stop rewriting my life.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

Flashing Neon Sign

Flashing Neon Sign

No Matter What
No Matter What

When I fell and damaged my back, the stairs in our home became obstacles. My husband found himself solely responsible for our beautiful flower gardens. We asked ourselves, “Is it time to move to a smaller place in town?”

I sought God’s help with the decision. “Surely, my back will heal and the move won’t be necessary,” I pleaded. “Besides, how can my husband get us packed by himself? Do you really want us to move, God?” I prayed. I tried to listen. I wanted to follow God’s will. I needed a flashing neon sign telling us what to do.

Friends came for a meeting. I told them my dilemma. They responded, “We’d love to help get your place ready to sell.” Immediately they started making two piles – stuff to keep and stuff to give away. Two hours later, our living room and kitchen were ready for viewing. Was this God’s sign to move? We looked for a condominium and found nothing in our price range. Was this God’s sign to stay?

My daily scripture reading was Psalm 23. The last two lines flashed like a neon sign. “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.” I knew this was God’s message. Whatever our decision, God’s goodness and mercy were with us. We would dwell with God in whatever house in whatever place.

When life decisions are difficult, pray, consult friends, look at all the options. Make your best informed choice and then, trust that God is with you and will bring goodness and mercy to your life.

 

“Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.”