When You Can't Figure God Out
I've spent a lot of time in the past several months trying to figure out God. I struggled to understand what God was doing, where God might be leading, and whether to interpret the things I was feeling and experiencing as signs from God or just my own desires or wishes.
Over those months I pored over the Bible, sought inspiration from a variety of Christian authors, poets and songwriters. I asked for advice from friends--hoping they would help me figure out God in my context even if they couldn't figure God out in their own.
And then I remembered something that I witnessed many years ago, while on a mission trip in Mexico.
One of the older teenage girls, who had been on multiple mission trips to the same site with us, came to me with a lament. She launched into a long, convoluted diatribe about how she just wasn't "feeling it" on that particular trip. She told me that she just wasn't feeling God "this time," and she'd been counting on that experience ever since the last trip we took.
At that moment a little girl from the impoverished neighborhood where we were working came up to her, and shyly handed her a piece of paper with a drawing she'd made. The teenager received it with a smile and hugged the little girl tightly. "Muchas gracias, ninita!" she exclaimed.
When the little girl ran off, the teenager turned to me and started complaining again. I stopped her mid-sentence. "So what you're telling me is that you've been waiting to experience God, to feel God and have some kind of sign from God and you haven't found it?" "Yes!" she said brightly, glad that I understood her.
Then I said to her, "It seems to me that God just walked up to you, gave you a precious gift, and an embrace."
Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran wrote, "And if you would know God be not therefore a solver of riddles. Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children."
I recently read a wonderful passage from Psalm 16 that states, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” I'm learning that God is not a problem to be solved, God is a wonder to be enjoyed.
And I'm also learning that the moment you give up your desire to figure out God and merely dedicate your life to enjoying God, it's much easier to see, feel and experience God's presence all around you--where it's been all along.
May you discover the presence of God in the world and in God's beloved children all around you. May you give up your need to figure God out and simply desire God in all of God's grace, mercy and love.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.