Bidden Or Not Bidden, God Is Present
I was listening to a song by the singer/songwriter Ryan Adams the other day, and a snippet of the song captured my attention, so I wrote it down.
The more I thought about it, the more it reminded me of the situation we all find ourselves in right now. See what you think:
Now make you weak
The very same things that used to make us laugh
Now only make us weep
The very same things that used to take a day
Now take a week
And all the things that once were so easy to climb
Is that not the perfect summation of the way that 2020 has played out? Nothing seems easy any more, does it? I have said more than once over the course of this pandemic that I have never worked harder in my life, and felt like I've accomplished less.
According to my calendar, my kids would have just finished their first week of school this past Friday if everything was happening according to plan. Only there are no real plans anymore, are there?
I used to plan my work and personal life months in advance, and would feel fairly confident that I would be sticking with the plan... not any more. I have discovered it's better to just plan for next week, and then to hold on to those plans loosely.
There's a heaviness to all of this. A heaviness that feels at times as though it will never be lifted.
I saw a snippet of a poem by W.H. Auden appropriately entitled "The Age of Anxiety: when I was reading the other morning. I've been holding on to it ever since:
I know... I'm using a lot of poetry today. But there's a reason for it. You see, there are moments when poetry is able to capture a feeling, and emotion, or a point in history so well that it's hard to improve on it, and to try to do so would diminish its power.
So, the heavy world is sobbing. That's what it feels like right now.
It's in moments like this, when I am feeling the weight of our weary, saddened world, that I often wonder where God is in the midst of it all.
I have come to trust that God is at work somewhere in the middle of this mess, but I have to admit that it's sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly where God is at work--especially when I'm sloughing through our current reality of uncertainty, weariness and more often than not, straight up sadness.
Maybe you feel the same way. Maybe there's a disconnect between what you choose to trust about God's presence, and the reality that you aren't really experiencing God's presence in the world around you.
It's in these moments that we need a change of perspective.
In fact, we need to move beyond the way that we typically see the world. We need to begin to see ourselves not as apart from the world, feeling the weight of it as though it were a thing to be carried, a heaviness to be borne.
Neither should we see ourselves as separated from the world by our feelings, or fate or circumstances--despite the increased anxiety and isolation we feel right now. Because nothing could be further from the truth.
We actually have a deep, abiding connection to the world around us, which is why we are feeling all of the emotions we are feeling, along with the weight of how much more difficult it is to live with so much uncertainty.
We feel these things because we all feel these things, and we are all connected through God's life-giving energy that flows between us, all around us and through us.
Because of this energy, we are intimately connected with a God who is also feeling these things, too---a God who stands beside us in our unknowing our grief, our fear our dread and our doubt.
A God who knows what it feels like to experience the loss of God. A God who can go unseen when we deny the connections between us and the world... between us and God.
It may be time for you to renew that connection today--to spend some time praying, meditating, journalling, renewing relationships with friends and loved ones.
Or to simply be still and know that God is God, and that in the words of the famous Latin phrase: Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit (Bidden or not bidden, God is present).
May this be so for you today and every day. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.