Where is God?

I'm guessing I'm not the only one staring at the TV and listening to the radio thinking, What in the world is happening? One day I'm checking on my friend's son in Texas near the floods, the next I see my step-brother and sister-in-law evacuating from Florida to escape Hurricane Irma and the next day I read my cousin's post on Facebook telling us they are all scared but safe in Mexico after the 8.1 earthquake there. 

My heart is heavy as I'm sitting here praying and feeling awful for so many people living in fear and helplessness. Meanwhile, I'm also here finishing up writing my online retreat on "Life Transitions: Finding God in the Center of the Unknown and thinking... there must be so many people out there wondering, where is God in the middle of all of this unknown? 

In my online retreat I talk about finding God in the center of the unknown through surrendering to the mystery of God. What else can you do when there are disasters, tragedies, difficult questions, and let's face it - difficult people in this world. When you surrender to the mystery of God, you're not waiting for things to be certain, resolved, or perfect in order to trust God. You accept that life is imperfect. There are tragedies or life situations that may rob you of the life you planned out for yourself.

When you surrender to the mystery of God your trust in God is no longer conditional.  You find a new way of life that does not look for a happiness dependent on transitory situations but rather focuses on the richness of God's grace and the comfort of God's mercy. 

There can be resistance to entering into the mystery because it means there are questions left unresolved. You're forced to let go of the way you planned things or the way you were raised to believe would happen. As you look at your own resistance to surrender, reflect on the following points on what surrendering to the mystery of God is not. 

  • Surrendering to the mystery of God is not saying I don't care. Tragic things happen and your life may never be the same. Accepting the mystery of God is accepting the fact that life can get messy and you may be invited to accept a new normal.  
  • Surrendering to the mystery of God is not forgetting, it's forgiving. If someone hurts you, you may not be able to forget, but you can forgive. Accepting the mystery of God is a commitment to start the long prayerful process of forgiveness. 
  • Surrendering to the mystery of God is not condoning bad behavior. If a person or an institution has done something wrong, accepting the mystery of God does not mean you're supposed to ignore it, it means you accept human imperfection, listen to how God is calling your to respond, and then focus on finding God in the other places and people around you. 

None of this is easy. Surrendering to the mystery of God is a life-long journey. Usually a big change in your life or a transition from one phase of life to another is when you start asking the big and confusing questions that may not be able to be answered. If that's where you're at, I hope you'll join me for my day retreat and online retreat coming up in three weeks. Life's big questions can sometimes be overwhelming but when you find a sacred place to reflect and pray over them, they have less of a hold over you. Come join me on this special journey.