“What then are we to say about these things? . . . Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Roman 8:31 and 35-39
Some days it is just easier to see God’s presence in our lives – isn’t it? Some days it is a whole lot easier to see God’s presence. Some days God’s presence in our lives is so very obvious to us. We see God all around us. Everywhere we turn we see reminders of God’s loving – gracious presence in our lives. It is like we are tripping over reminders of God’s love for us. These days are glorious and awesome. I love these days!
And then there are those days – when it is so much harder to see God’s presence in our lives.
Life gets busy. Often life gets really – really busy. We get distracted. Sometimes we start to feel burdened by life and just how hard it can be to be a human being – or maybe that is just me . . . (It could just be me. It probably is just me!) We start to think we are in this life alone.
On days like these we just can’t seem to see God’s presence in our daily lives. One of my favorite seminary professors called this – “navel gazing.” I am really and truly gifted at navel gazing. I excel at navel gazing! I am soooooo good at shifting my focus from God and his blessings to me – to thinking only of myself and my problems and my concerns and my burdens. When I do this I enter a spiral of misery and woe and self pity. Navel gazing is so problematic – because we quickly lose our perspective on just about everything!
I have been struggling a bit the past few weeks. I am learning to live with an autoimmune disease and have dealing with a flare-up (again) the past few weeks. I simply don’t feel like myself. Nothing horrible – just a flare up that has triggered some bothersome – annoying symptoms – but enough that my focus shifted.
I have spent less time seeking God’s presence and more time feeling just a wee bit sorry for myself.
It occurred to me last night while Jason and I were walking that feeling sorry for myself wasn’t helping me feel any better. Honestly – it was making me feel a whole lot worse! My current flare up will just have to run its course like they always do. Some flare ups last weeks. Others last months. But focusing on how rotten I feel certainly isn’t helping anyone! And I doubt that it makes me a more delightful wife and mom . . .
I realized feeling yucky – had led me to ease up on my pursuit of God sightings which is the last thing I needed to be doing. The more challenging times in my life are exactly when I need reminders of God’s presence with me.
Hmmmmm. . . .it was time to make some changes!
So – I started looking and listening and thinking and trying to slowing – gently shift my focus.
As Jason and I walked – I heard Will and Jack’s laughter echoing through the evening air. They were hanging out in our backyard together and clearly having a wonderful time! Now that was a beautiful sound. A really – really beautiful sound (and yes as their mom I know that I am biased. I am so okay with this particular bias!)
I looked to my right and there walked Jason. Jason has been walking in that very spot for over 28 years now. That is a blessing from God – if I ever saw one!
I noticed what a nice job Jack had done of mowing our lawn that afternoon. We have a lovely home – a beautiful yard – and our teenage son is helpful and wonderful. He does a lovely job of mowing our lawn.
I then noticed all of the parts of my body that do feel okay and are working just fine. Sure not everything is okay – but not everything is wrong either.
It was sunny and almost 80 degrees while our entire family was outside. There was even a gentle breeze! That too felt like a blessing.
Is everything in my life just perfectly – perfect? Nope. But once I took a few moments to remind myself of God’s presence – I felt blessed and thankful. I also felt very comforted by the reminders of God’s presence in my life. This life isn’t easy. It can be bumpy and hard and stressful and exhausting and scary – but God is with us.
God is always with us. We are never alone. Not even when we have convinced ourselves that we are alone!
I hope that you all take some time today to seek God’s presence in your own lives. Be on the look out for a God sighting or 100!
You are all in my heart, thoughts, and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –