Is God Down Here Where You Need Him?
In the book At Home in Mitford, Father Tim comes to his Episcopal sanctuary one evening just after dark. He doesn’t expect to see anyone, but he quickly notices that there is a man sitting in one of the pews. He starts to offer the man some help but then notices that the man’s head is bowed. He is praying. Gradually his prayer becomes more and more audible, louder and louder. Finally, he lifts his face toward the ceiling and screams, “If you’re up there, prove it!” Father Tim slips into the pew next to this stranger and says quietly, “I think the question is not ‘Are you up there?’ but rather ‘Are you down here?’”
Where is your God? Is he someone up there somewhere? Is He someone you’re hoping will come through for you and take you to heaven when you die? Or is he available to you here and now to guide you, to comfort you, to rescue you? Jesus is our shepherd here and now. He makes us lie down in green pastures, He leads us beside still waters. He restoresour souls. All present tense. Psalm 46 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Don’t wait for a major crisis to develop a faith in a very present God. Read the Bible, pray, receive the Eucharist. As it says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” In Matthew 6:33 Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” This is immediately followed by, “Therefore do not be anxious…” The two go together. If you draw near to God, if you seek the kingdom of God every day, then when trouble comes you won’t be anxious. You’ll be in the habit of believing in a very present God. And you won’t have to yell “If you’re up there…” You’ll know Jesus is down here where you need Him. Amen?
Father Jim Fosdick SSC
Canon to the Ordinary