Saving Me and God
I hear much these days about the God
who is present, the God who is there.
This is always presented as an advanced
spirituality, one that has transcended
the God who rescues, the God who saves.
Basically, if my car careens off into the
snowbank, God may not send a tow truck
to rescue me but God will be right there
with me as I freeze to death right there
in my upside down Honda. Now, as with
many things, there is a flake of truth to
this, and chapter and verse to support such
chill, but I rather find this a burr under my
saddle. If the progressive stance is no more
either/ors, then it seems to me the God who is
there can also be the God who prods Stan’s
Towing to make one more sweep of the
frontage road just before dark and happen
upon me and God upside down in my Honda
and save us—me from a bit of reckless driving
and God from a muss of feckless theology.
yes yes yes !!!1
Thank you for putting this into words
Thank you for sharing this poem!
Above the door of Carl Jung’s house in Switzerland and also on the stone marking his grave, “Bidden or not bidden God is present”.
This is a good one, John.
Ha! In the previous comment I used the email I use for the Chesterton Society but of course should’ve realized the GKC photo would show. So to clarify: (1) GKC did not leave that comment. 😉 and (2) Monica does not look like GKC.
And yet … must we not also allow that your preferred outcome may NOT happen, and that God is present in that scenario, as well??
When I took homiletics in seminary from a tiny Scottish man named Ian Pitt-Watson, he always grounded us with this story: while on a speaking tour in Australia, his son became ill-unto-death and was hospitalized, sharing his room with another boy who did not appear to be as seriously ill.
At the very moment Ian’s congregation was praying for them back home in Glasgow, his son took a turn for the better and eventually recovered. His roommate – also part of a praying congregation – became much worse and eventually died. His admonition to us was to never preach the first story without referencing the second. And he was far from a progressive. Mystery remains and must be allowed.
The mystery of God is what allows us free will.. Free will to chose this God on a daily basis, in sickness and in health, when we feel his presence and when we don’t. Thank you for this response to John and John thank you for the prompting to look closer
Fully agree, Diana. I just don’t want us to nudge God out of the miracle business, if God so chooses to act that way. Some of what I hear, when I listen between the lines, is a resignation that God doesn’t act that way any longer.
YES! This is the tipping point for me every single time I pray for something that feels impossible. Knowing that he COULD do it and then chooses not to sends me to Bethany with Mary and Martha, but Lazarus doesn’t always come forth.
I too have struggled with all the mystery. I have felt at times that his presence isn’t going to be enough. I wanted action. I can’t explain it either. I do like where Diana Trautwein above, has landed.
I concur with your post and your beliefs, John. Thanks for lifting me up today.
Yes!! Just this summer, a member of the church I attend collapsed at his uncle’s funeral. He was “down” (pulse less without active CPR) for over 30 minutes. Long story short, the church prayed for the next 48 hours straight, a lot of medical stuff happened, and he literally FULLY recovered (albeit with a shiny new defibrillator in his chest). Not long after, I ran into one of our pastors, and he said, “I’ve never seen a miracle like that. I guess you seen more, Dr. Abby?” As I type, I realize I’m not quite sure what he meant by “miracle like that.” Medical? Maybe? Something else entirely? I am sure the prayers of the church were heard, and I am even more sure God continues to be in the business of miracles, if only we had eyes to see and ears to hear. . . Wow, John. Thank you. Hope does arise.
Years ago I was working for a company that was forcing everyone thru a ‘culture change’ initiative (yeah forcing). Requests went out one day to describe the company in one word. I used Feckless. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen that word in use. You reminded me of that day long ago, back when things were feckless, and back when I was so naive to think that all my belongings could fit in just one bankers box.
Love your stuff, it’s great.
I hope I always leave room for the stone to be rolled away and Lazarus to come forth. Whatever that may look like.
He is the Resurrection and the Life, indeed. I needed this poem; thank you, John.
I don’t know, John. I think loneliness is on the upswing. With all our ways of connecting, one may wonder why. Perhaps we are leaning more towards longing for company than we are for deliverance.