I had breakfast yesterday morning with a dear friend who asked me where I see God active in my life. While we have had many conversations about God over the years, I was slightly taken aback. It was a very direct question, even for someone who is renown for her inquiries. But it probably gave me pause even more because I simply wasn't sure of the answer.
God has felt pretty distant lately. I have experienced this before, merely noting that he is on vacation, but when I thought about all the places he could be active: my friends who are struggling, my places of employment, my own life...it all just feels...empty of him. But, I quickly added, he goes on these vacations, and he will be back whenever he sees fit.
At work last evening, I received a call to come to the hospital "now." My son was in a car accident. My coworkers hurried me out the door graciously, and I prayed, asking for my friends to pray, as I drove.
Gratefully, he is stable. The damage to his body is nothing like one might expect given the situation. But as I processed this on the lonely and cold drive home, I began to answer my friend's question in a most unexpected way.
Where do I see God active? I see his spirit active in me. I have been wrestling with how a good God thinks free will is fair when humanity is dumb and governed by dopamine. But I know from my experience that God is good. I can't reconcile the two yet, but I cannot ignore what has happened in my life. I know God has kindly used me to care for individuals that few people care about, while in my position as nurse. I could say that I am just a compassionate and loving person, but if you really know me, you would know it would be a lie. Still, God has set me up in these weird places to care for some people that would amaze you with their courage and resilience. God has given me peace when I would normally be frantic. God has cultivated a gentleness in my spirit to encourage others. He has given me wisdom so I don't simply react and mouth off as I once did. I grieve the losses around me, the struggles of those I love, but I also have hope. I have hope because if I can be so transformed, those whose lives touch mine might also-not because of me, of course, but because God is that powerful.
What I feel as absence of his presence isn't that at all. In the same way that the world is not dying in winter, no matter how it feels. The bulbs are growing beneath that layer of mulch and snow. Their moment to unveil has simply not come yet. God is also sneaky. At least in my experience. He often feels far away but he is really just incredibly close at that moment.