I Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass darkly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.
Hebrews 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Our friend Clint claims to be a hard agnostic; that means he believes that it is not possible to “know” that there is a God. His claims are true. God does not call us to mountain tops like Moses to give us concrete messages etched in stone. In this life, we do not get to see him face to face. But we do get to see evidence of his presence that calls us to faith. Where is this evidence? Look around you! It is in sunrises and sunsets, stars and moons, mountains and oceans, eagles and hummingbirds, Science, History, Mathematics and Literature, births and deaths. We just have to live with a sense of awareness to be able to see it.
When we do step out in faith, what happens? Our prayers are answered to give us better than our meager imaginations requested. We are connected to others – some in need of our talents, our listening ears, and a share of our abundance – and through these connected experiences we learn more of God’s grace and God’s true care for every soul. How can he do all that? Well, Archie Bunker, it’s because God is God!
My favorite personal story about God’s providence is through serving in a summertime activity called Project Read. (Sorry to keep repeating this event in my writings, but it keeps coming back to me, especially during the Thanksgiving season, calling me to gratitude.) People from my church donate children’s books and we take them to various locations in Grapevine where children who normally receive free lunch at school are fed during their school vacation days. I would visit with the children and their moms under the shade of the trees at the Grace building near their trailer park. On one of those sweltering days, one of the moms asked me if I could help her get an air conditioner for her children’s bedroom. My brain said, “How in the world am I going to do that,” while my voice and my heart said, “Yes.” Taking her written contact information to the church secretary, I was confident that some good person would find a way to help her in time. That night Darrell & I were sitting in the comfort of our Lazy boy recliners watching the big screen TV cooled by the central air that is a common expectation in most of our homes and a phone call from a friend was a welcomed interruption to our dangling conversation. He wanted to know what to do with the used window unit that we had given him a few years ago to use in his backyard shop. He had just bought a new, larger edition and wanted to return our gift. Wow, did that ever get my attention! Call it coincidence or karma; I call it God’s grace that connected me on that day to another person with a need. My gratitude for that experience is still with me. Moments like that happen more and more when you take steps to serve God by serving others. Moments like that serve to confirm your faith in the unseen and the unknowable.
Another mystical experience occurred to confirm my faith and the setting was a very unlikely place, a group meeting with a psychic which she advertises as a Circle of Light. Well, we actually sit in a circle in the pitch darkness, but I suppose the light is a metaphor for my enlightenment. During this group meeting, I had messages from loved ones who had passed on – both of my grandmothers, Uncle Mendil, and Darrell’s dad Jack. They mentioned memorable shared experiences that were in no way knowable to the lady who was the medium. My grandmother, Nana, reminded me of the time when our family was gathered in a private hospital meeting room to visit with the chaplain due to her imminent death. Her heart had stopped for several minutes during surgery but at that time she miraculously came back and was in our lives for several more years. She said if she had known what it was going to be like, she would have gone ahead and left us then. She said it was better than I could ever imagine. I believe her, so I also believe that God gives us an indescribable existence after death. I don’t “know” it because I have seen it with my eyes, but I know it.
So how does living with faith and connection to God affect your life here and now? It takes away fear and replaces it with peace and contentment. It gives you heightened awareness of beauty and blessings. It helps you see the goodness and potential in other souls you meet. It helps you see the connectedness of all creation and your own interchangeable role in the ever changing, evolving world.
We are living in a current world that has access to so much knowledge, so much information that it sometimes becomes overwhelming to sort through it all and make it match with our personal ability to reason. Why would an all-powerful God not just jump in the midst of events that seem out of control and do a grand fix? Too much war, disease, injustice! Yes, but in midst of all the craziness, there are pockets of glorious richness.
My prayer for Clint is for God to bring him to a job that will challenge his mind, give him enough money to live comfortably and give him satisfaction that he is making a significant contribution to the world; that God will bring him a soul mate to share his life experiences; that God will pour out his blessings on him to confirm his faith in what cannot be known. Yes, our bodies will turn to dirt just like the great names and the anonymous ones who have gone before us, but our spirits do continue…blessings to all on this All Saints Sunday, when we keep special remembrance for those who have passed on before us.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Malachi 3:10 “Test me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”