There’s no good day for a funeral, but this one was especially bad. An hours-long downpour had swamped the streets. I wondered how many people would be able to get to the church for Emily’s family.
Her father had died suddenly — one of those moments that suck the life out of you and turn your world upside-down. Her family needed support. And now, rain was coming down in buckets, resulting in road closings.
I arrived at the church and was heartened to see a full parking lot. People scurried inside with umbrellas as shields, determined to comfort Emily and her family.
I’m right here for you, they seemed to be saying. Nothing's going to stop us.
Where have we heard this before?
The heart of Jesus’ message is that God is always right here, working through us, with us, and in us to bring love, compassion and healing into the world.
God isn’t the old, white guy with a grim face who lives somewhere in the sky and must be begged for what we need. Instead, God is right here, living in us, with us and through us. Seek, and you will find.
But you have to look in the right place.
Often, I lose sight of God. While my pot of coffee is brewing in the morning, I get on my news apps and catch up on the world’s happenings, and often there’s so much craziness that I say to God: Where are you in all of this?
It’s easy to lose the sense of God’s presence during the ordinariness of each day: the avalanche of emails, the challenges of dealing with different personalities, the setbacks and the time wasted getting simple things accomplished. God, where are you in all of that?
Then there are the big moments. Someone dies. A job ends. A child struggles. A medical test comes back positive. A parent seems to be slipping away. A relationship is ruptured.
God, where are you?
It’s comforting to me that Jesus — this person who deeply experienced God’s presence — felt the same way. There’s the passage in two of the gospels where he’s dying and says to God: I feel like you’ve abandoned me. Where are you right now?
And present at that moment are people who have risked their lives to be with him until the end. He gets his answer in their love and their courage.
I’m right here with you. You are never alone.
When we lose sight of God’s presence, it’s good to remember where to look. We find God right here in the people who parent us, mentor us, challenge us, and love us.
Sure, those people do all of those things imperfectly, but that’s OK. Imperfection never diminishes the divine presence. The answer is still the same:
I’m right here, giving you what you need. Always.