God is taking care of everything

One of the hardest roles of a pastor is finding a center in a moving space.  On one side lies a need to call people to greatness.  To call them to strive for lives of excellence, meaning and purpose.  On another side, lies a need to call people to the hard edge of sacrifice, suffering, and true giving.  To far one way, religion becomes little more than shallow cheer leading.  Too far the other, and religion becomes the darkness it hopes to extinguish.

Christ constantly spoke to us of a third way between polarities…  a unified field as it were.  In  that place, in that third way, there is simple trust.  Trust that the words will come when they need to come.  Trust that somehow God stirs us both to striving and stirs us to sacrifice.  That for me, is why the touchstone of suffering is so critical.

Drawing alongside of suffering quickly becomes an exercise in both/ and thinking.  Yes, he is an addict and yes, he is a man deeply connected to God.  Yes, she has cancer, and yes, she is a woman fully alive.   Yes, we can strive to grow a church beyond 1,000, and yes, the meaning of it all remains joyously hidden in the smallest of personal human interactions.

Because the fact remains God is taking care of it all.

Roger Ebert’s wife shared this thought on her husband’s recent passing. “The one thing people might be surprised about—Roger said that he didn’t know if he could believe in God. He had his doubts. But toward the end, something really interesting happened. That week before Roger passed away, I would see him and he would talk about having visited this other place. I thought he was hallucinating. I thought they were giving him too much medication. But the day before he passed away, he wrote me a note: “This is all an elaborate hoax.” I asked him, “What’s a hoax?” And he was talking about this world, this place. He said it was all an illusion. I thought he was just confused. But he was not confused. He wasn’t visiting heaven, not the way we think of heaven. He described it as a vastness that you can’t even imagine. It was a place where the past, present, and future were happening all at once.”

There is in the end an innate sense of something more, something greater.  God opens that for us as we regain our willingness to strive and to sacrifice, to find connection and stillness.   “He opens the skylights and then the windows … and enables us to see that heaven is real, that there is a life after death, and that there is eternal happiness.  By the spiritual light and spiritual love that then flow in together, he enables us to recognize that through Divine Providence God is taking care of everything.” (Divine Providence, 207)

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