God Revealed In Our Midst
Some years ago, I started attending an ecumenical prayer gathering of pastors and church leaders in the small town where I was serving as a pastor.
After a couple of meetings, I began to notice some patterns in the ways some of my colleagues spoke about their decisions and the ways they planned their own lives.
They would say things like, "The Lord spoke to me the other day..." or "I knew the Lord wanted us to do this..." or "I knew I was being led by God to say this..."
All-too-conveniently, the things my fellow pastors were claiming God was telling them to do seemed to be the very things that they were already sold on as good ideas.
Unfortunately, uncritically claiming ones own ideas and desires as a flash of divine revelation is something that Christian-y people do all the time.
I've seen it taken to the extreme ("God led me to leave my wife"--an actual statement a guy shared with me once), and I've also seen it used to diminish God's work in the world by trivializing it ("God gave me that parking space." or "God just told me to buy that new car"--the person couldn't afford).
I am sure that all of us would love to believe that God wholeheartedly agrees with us on everything we say and do. But none of us can truly claim to have a corner on the market when it comes to God's endorsement.
Instead, we all need to find the humility to surrender our own desires and subjugate our beliefs, plans and preferred outcomes to the surprising presence of God.
In his excellent book A Bigger Table, author John Pavlovitz speaks directly into this when he writes:
"Whatever is real and true about God will be revealed in our midst, and it will testify to itself. We won't need to claim it, or own it, or commandeer it. We'll just be present and be reverent in the face of it."
May you discover where God is at work in the world today and join God in that work. May you be willing to allow God to shape and mold you in God's image. May you be surprised by God's presence today and every day.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.