I was struggling with a bit of writer’s block when I came across a recent issue of Human Development, a publication of GuestHouse. The issue is filled with essays relating to various ways we can experience God in our lives. While I have not finished reading all the essays, there are nuggets worth sharing in my own words from the ones I have read.
Merriam-Webster defines coincidence as “the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection.” As a man of faith, I don’t believe in coincidences. Events don’t happen by accident. I call them Godincidences. Fr. J.J. calls them God-nudges. Whatever term you want to use, the bottom line is: God is at the center of all events. However, we often don’t realize God’s involvement until afterwards. We will only realize we experienced God in those situations after quiet reflection about the event or sharing the event with others.
Our active lifestyles, all the electronic distractions, and our society’s emphasis on being independent and self-reliant obscures experiencing God during the moment. In his essay The Experience of God in the Present Moment, Fred Cavaiani writes, “God is always coming to us in each moment of life in everything we see in everyone we meet. Usually, we don’t recognize his presence because we are rushing onto the next moment.”
That is why we recognize God’s involvement in our daily lives after the fact – after reflection. This is good and bad. It is good that we eventually recognize God in the experience. It is bad that we don’t recognize God in the experience when it is happening, in part because of missed opportunities to give him the praise and glory at the time.
The challenge is for us to slow down during the moment, to look beyond our self-reliance, to be humble to see God working through us in all our experiences of life. This doesn’t have to be a literal slowing down, but more of a mental slowing down. You could liken it to when football quarterbacks or basketball point guards say as they become veteran players – the game “slows down” for them. No one on the field or the court is running slower, but through experience, these key players have a greater awareness of what is going on around them.
As summer starts to wind down, take a little time to once again reflect on past experiences where you saw God’s involvement. Allow these memories to reinforce for you that God is always involved in our lives. Then let us make an effort to slow down to experience God in the present moment – every moment of our lives.
In the peace of Christ,