Today, I’ll get right to the point.
Are you bewildered right now?
Look around, observe, you might ask — where is God?
To the least faithful, to the cynic or doubter or atheist, the question seems fair. With all the cultural upheaval, with a surging pandemic, why not ask the question? Daily, nightly, the news cycle screams apocalypse, unless of course, you decide to follow their remedy. Evidence suggests society is moving away from God, away from community. Surrendering faith by silence or retreat in the face of such evidence tempts us.
The faithful are living among the enemy. But isn’t living among your enemies, God’s enemies, the calling every Christian must bear? Christians are living in a foreign land alienated by a foreign language. And as we long for civility, for comfort, remember our great desire for both is the most insidious temptation and failure we encounter.
Where is God? The harder question is — where are we?
When Christ came, he took on our nature. Because he did so, we are in him. This reality is not new. Christ knows what it’s like to be us.
Faith is embedded in this remembrance. When we wake each day and forget Christ, our faith becomes a little more distant, and by gradation, one day we wake and sense faith is gone. How did this happen but by the incremental idea we could take a day off here and there, that we could go it alone, that there was a better way? Like a wreck on the side of the road, it’s easy to believe someone else will take care of it. The fervor with which we first believed wanes as we forget to ask for daily bread as Christ so taught us. Christ understood our nature. Going alone, breadless, is hard.
Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “But God has put this Word into the mouth of men in order that it may be communicated to other men. A Christian needs a Christian brother again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belying the truth.”
Society’s discord omits Christ. In the strife and erasure of God from society’s conversation, I have noticed a theme. From every corner of the room, everyone says to each other the same thing in myriad forms — you ought. Never has there been a better time to step back and say — I ought. You ought is the wreck on the side of the road. I ought focuses on God’s transformative work inside us.
Where is God? God is where he has always been, waiting for us to enter into fellowship with him, living in the hearts and minds of those who partake of his daily bread. And where the faithful reside, where true men and women of God rise and bind themselves together in faith — there is no conflict.
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19, NKJV).