Where do I find God? There are times when, for whatever the reason, I feel estranged from God. There are times when, though my faith tells me that God is near, I simply do not feel God’s presence. During those times, my prayer seems empty. I cannot connect to God. I cannot sense God’s love. I feel lost and confused. I cannot make myself believe that God loves me.
Sometimes God speaks to me through the words of others. Bishop Steven Charleston writes these comforting words:
You are not lost. Not to me.
And never will be.
No matter where you may be,
no matter how far or deep or dark
or empty or alone or confusing or new
or complex or tangled
or bad or difficult,
I will find you.
I will find you and I will be with you.
I will come to you and hold you and care for you
and uplift you and protect you
and heal you and save you
and bring you home.
So you never need be afraid.
Never. For you will not be lost, not to me.
I have you. Now and forever.
Be at peace and rest in that peace.
You will never be in a place my love cannot find.
So says our God.
Without fail, I eventually return to peace. I find my way back, every time, and I find myself again resting in God’s love.
Life can sometimes find us in a stumbling mess of confusion. But God’s blessing is that we are stumbling upon varying degrees of grace in every moment. It is grace that empowers us. It is grace that gives us strength to move forward. It is grace that saves us from ourselves. It is grace that helps us deal with discouragement. John R. W. Scott wrote that “grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues.”
I have lived a great many years, struggling through parts of life, racing like the wind through others. Something made the difference in my ability to run with the wind during times when I was weary and weak. I believe that the difference was grace, grace that always has the final word, grace that calls out to us and nudges us onward when we’re afraid to move, grace that is an overwhelming and undeserved gift from God that enables us to live, change and grow.
Living on daily dialysis, waiting for a possible kidney transplant, living a long way from my child and my grandchildren, struggling with medical expenses, dealing with failing health, becoming aware of my mortality . . . The list could go on and on. Yet, I am okay. I enjoy my life. As the beloved hymn says, “it is well with my soul.” That’s because grace lights my darkened world and fills my soul with eternal hope.
I rest on this timeless quote by Thomas Adams (1612-1653):
“Grace comes into the soul, as the morning sun into the world; first a dawning, then a light; and at last the sun in its full and excellent brightness.”
So I am continuing to stumble through life, but I am stumbling upon grace.