I am not sure about a lot of things, but I am sure God is present. There are only few concrete things I can say for certain about God, and one thing I know for sure is that God is present. In my Methodist tradition, we believe that God is still living and active in the world.
God was there at the beginning of things, through the first choices, good and bad. God has always only desired a relationship with humanity, God’s creation. God has gone to great lengths to ensure that the God-to-human relationship could continue to thrive.
God has been present in the wilderness and present in the middle of sin and suffering, and even present during exile. God has been there in the wrestling, the restlessness, and in those moments of rest. In fact, there are moments when people have declared, surely God was in this place and I was not aware of it.
God was and is among the people. Not only is God with us, but his plan for us is to have life, and life to the fullest. God has been, and continues to be, at the party turning water into wine. God walks through life and shows humanity how to live rightly in the world. God will not hesitate to leave the group behind to seek out one lonely soul. God has wept, been betrayed, and even killed. And yet, God is still present, God still persists.
There are times and situations where it is hard to believe that God’s plan for us is life, let alone that God is present. Living in an imperfect world with unfair outcomes can be a hard reality to face. Things happen often outside of our control at the hands of someone else or something else, seemingly random acts of chaos.
Unthinkable acts are perpetrated, life is cut short, violence and trauma are endured. Our loved ones die when we hoped they would heal. We couldn’t find the words that needed to be said at the moment we needed them. Freak accidents happen that change the paths of our lives in an instant. We have to deal with a chronic illness that becomes a lifestyle instead of a one-time medical event. Those who we counted on were not there when we needed them the most. Sometimes we have to pause our plan and priorities to deal with a medical emergency. Other times these situations can put a stop to our plans, an end. Life is hard. Life is not fair. Life is suffering. But life is also good. Life is full of joy.
To be alive is to be present to life in all of its fullness. To be present is to experience love and the presence we give to others is the greatest form of love. So in the middle of your circumstance, setback, or struggle, God is present. God is there in your pain, your joy, your grief, and your loneliness. It does not always feel this way, but it is true.
Sometimes it feels to us as though God is absent in these moments when life grows dark and the difficulties continue to stack up. But, God is there even when it feels like absence. God is there in the warmth of the sunshine and in the garlic green beans from the hospital menu. God is there in that nurse, nutritionist, or doctor that goes above and beyond to offer hope, healing, and encouragement. God may even be with the chaplain that stops by. Whatever the case, God is certainly with you and for you, walking alongside you no matter what lies ahead. God will continue to do what God always does, be present.
God will be present in this life and the next, calling you forward toward a life filled with ever lasting love. Today may you know the presence of God undoubtedly in your life, no matter what comes next. Remember this is the God who is with us.