It was a remark over dinner. That in all our stories, it’s evident how God has been present, how God has been at work, how He has shown Himself to be the source of incredible transformation. His mercies have availed for every trial, in every valley, for every crossroads. He has been present.
Always, there is at least one thing, one person in a day that imprints God’s presence and goodness – however fleeting or subtle.
And it’s not just about how God has been present to us and in our little lives. We’ve seen this same God in the lives of people we know – regardless of how much/little they care for or understand Him.
So there’s something else too. And that is: we can see God at work, because we are consciously looking out for Him. We expect to see Him. We expect Him to turn up. We expect Him to be who He is.
And when He does, we are filled with thanksgiving – whatever the outcome may be, even if the ‘plans’ aren’t what we would have chosen or imagined for ourselves or others.
Yet, too often, apparent realities draw my eyes and attention away from true daily reality. Too often, we (I!) are in danger of being absent to the miracle of an everyday God who desires nothing more than to be with us.
“It’s practising being in the present, in the now”.
“For many living in today’s world, do not be afraid evokes images of ostriches with their heads in the sand as the world collapses around them. It sounds just as naïve and perplexing as my instructor’s words to me right as my horse backed me off the eight-foot embankment. We have many, many reasons to feel afraid largely because we feel we have so much to lose. Whether or not we claim Christian faith, do not be afraid echoes in our heads, and we wonder how to live courageously in a world filled with jagged edges and eight-foot embankments that would seek to claim all that is near and dear to us.
While there are no explicit references to hope in the teaching of Jesus, he too encouraged his followers to “not be anxious” but to trust in the God who could be trusted even in the face of our anxieties. Hope, contrary to what many of us might believe, is not the absence of fear but often arises in the midst of fear. It is both that which anchors us in the midst of the storm, and that which compels us to move forward—however ploddingly—towards goals, others, and the God whom the apostle Paul names the “God of hope” in his letter to the Romans. We hold on to hope, just as I held on while my horse slid backwards with me on her back, down the embankment that seemed without bottom, down to what I feared would end her life and my life. It is a desperate clinging to the God who is mysterious, and of whom we do not have control. There is a mystery in hope because we do not know how God will intervene.
I lived to tell about my horse-riding adventure without even a broken bone—not my own bones, or the bones of my horse. I couldn’t see the wide trail below me that would hold me, and would offer sure footing for my wayward steed. Our lives are often this way; we are often afraid because we cannot see where we will land. But hope longs to hold us and to ground us in the midst of our fears. Hope is the broad place, the wide trail underneath us. And though we know of those who fell and were not caught, though we often fear a world destroying itself, the God of hope raises the dead to life. Do not be afraid.” – RZIM