Where Is God at Work?
As a child I loved Highlights Magazine, and I especially loved the “Hidden Pictures” page. My mom used to drag me into downtown Philadelphia for my brother’s orthodontist appointments but I rarely complained because while my brother was having his teeth straightened my mom and I would sit in the waiting room with the latest edition of Highlights and search for the hidden pictures. Sometimes those pictures were easy to find. Sometimes the task was quite challenging!
For people who are spiritually inclined perhaps the adult version of the Hidden Pictures page is the challenge of “spotting” God in daily life. One of the members of our staff team calls them “God Sightings.” I believe that God is present always and everywhere, but it can be a challenge to “spot” God. In fact, I used to hate the common question, “When did you see God at work?” How can we know when something is “God at work” or when it’s mere coincidence? How many times does it happen that something we initially thought was a blessing turned out to be a curse, and visa versa? Is that God at work?
I choose to believe that wherever beauty is seen, whenever restoration and reconciliation happens, wherever real love is shared, whenever our hearts are near to bursting with joy – these are moments that reveal God at work. Here is an example that a fellow staff member recently sent:
“I just returned from [my son’s] 5th grade “variety show.” It’s been put on for the last 18 years as the big last-day-of-school event and most of the 100+ kids in his grade participated. The entire school, along with many of the 5th grade parents, was invited to watch this event in the gymnasium. This year there were 24 short acts, including many singers, a few gymnasts, dancers, a guitarist and some very humorous skits. But it was the very last act that was, for me, and I am quite sure for many of those who witnessed it, a God moment. A sweet, beautiful and very loved-by-her-classmates 5th grader with Down-Syndrome got up and sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She was dressed just like Dorothy…including the sparkling ruby-red shoes. Every phone, iPad, and camera was recording it. She did an amazing job! And every adult in the entire gym was wiping their eyes when she was done. A huge standing ovation concluded her shining moment and she was met off-stage with huge hugs from her classmates. It was so touching and I will treasure this memory. Forever.”
I have found that the more I allow moments like these to fill me with joy, gratitude and wonder the more often they happen, or at least the more often I see them. And the more I choose to recognize them as moments when God’s reconciling, restoring love is at work the more often I “spot” God in the everyday moments of everyday life.
Sure, there’s a lot of ugliness in this world. There’s more than enough pain and despair to see and experience. But even there I believe God is at work. I’m mindful of these words from the Gospel of John, “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.”
So here’s my challenge to you: make this week a God-Sighting adventure. Keep both your eyes and your heart open for those moments when God’s presence or God’s work is revealed. And then grab your cell phone, take a picture and either post it to our Facebook Page with a little description (https://www.facebook.com/popchurch) or post it to Twitter with hashtag #POPseesGod. I’d love to see God at work through your eyes.