“For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?” Deuteronomy 4:7.
This was the text of my message on Sunday about, Is there more to life than this? The answer, of course, is, “Yes.” There is God. And God is near. Nearer than we know.
With a small group of people who pray, I have begun reading Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons by Fredrick Buechner. In the one called, Message in the Stars, Buechner proclaims:
We all want to be certain, we all want proof, but the kind of proof we tend to want–scientifically or philosophically demonstrable proof that would silence all doubts once and for all–would not in the long run, I think, answer the fearful depths of our need at all. For what we need to know, of course, is not just that God exists, not just that beyond the steely brightness of the stars there is a cosmic intelligence of some kind that keeps the whole show going, but that there is a God right here in the thick of our day-by-day lives who may not be writing messages about himself in the stars but who in one way or another is trying to get messages through our blindness as we move around down here knee-deep in the fragrant muck and misery and marvel of the world. It is not objective proof of God’s existence that we want but, whether we use religious language for it or not, the experience of God’s presence. That is the miracle that we are really after. And that is also, I think, the miracle that we really get.
I believe that we know much more about God than we admit that we know, than perhaps we altogether know that we know. God speaks to us, I would say, much more often than we realize or than we choose to realize. Before the sun sets every evening, he speaks to each of us in an intensely personal and unmistakable way. His message is not written out in starlight, which in the long run would make no difference; rather, it is written out for each us in the humdrum, helter-skelter events of each day; it is a message that in the long run might just make all the difference.
Who knows what he will say to me today or to you today or into the midst of what kind of unlikely moment he will choose to say it. Not knowing is what makes today a holy mystery as every day is a holy mystery. * * *
These words that God speaks to us in our own lives are the real miracles. They are not miracles that create faith as we might think that a message written in the stars would create faith, but they are miracles that it takes faith to see–faith in the sense of openness, faith in the sense of willingness to wait, to watch, to listen, for the incredible presence of God here in the world among us.
God is always good, and we are in his hands. +james