Today’s Lectio Divina:
Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8: 35-39 (MsgB)
Ignatian Truth #3: Ignatian spirituality is all about Finding God in All Things. In God we live, we move, and we have our being. There is no separation between sacred and secular.
So, here’s the question.
If, indeed, God is in all things, as St. Ignatius suggests in his Spiritual Exercises, why is it that, from time to time, I simply can’t seem to find Him?
Why is it that when bad stuff hits the fan, God seems to be a million miles away?
And, if God is in all things, why is it when I pray, the only response I seem to get is crickets?
Hmm. Great questions, don’t you think?
Actually, these are very difficult and honest questions, spoken by many good people over the centuries. And if we’re honest with our Christian faith, these are questions we’ve all had on numerous occasions as we trek through this thing called life, wondering at times if our God turned left at the last intersection, while we turned right!
You see, if indeed, God is in all things, as Ignatius proposes, it’s very possible that the problem of not finding Him is not on God’s end, but on mine!
Let me explain what I mean.
God, who is omnipresent, is a deity that is not limited, like we human beings are, to the three dimensions found in our human existence. Now, please forgive me here, I’m not a physicist, nor do I play one on television, but in reality, the God we find in the Scriptures is not a god with physical limitations, but one of countless realities. That’s why Paul, when writing to his friends in Rome, states that there is nothing…absolutely nothing…that can separate us from God and His love for us.
Using the language of a physicist, I’d suggest that while you and I live in a world of three dimensions, where height and depth and length comprise the limits to our little world, God, who actually created those dimensions, is bigger and broader than all that, capable of moving outside those dimensions, which allows Him to be “in all things” without always being seen by the human eye.
So, when I’m standing in the middle of a difficult season in my life, perceiving that God is nowhere to be found, it might just be that it’s my very limited expectations of God being present that might be the problem here rather than the fact that God is or isn’t present.
Yes, I know. This all might sound a bit weird to you. A bit like science-fiction. But stay with me here while I add this one given fact.
You see, for most of us, the theory of God’s omnipresence is not all that hard for us to agree on, but it’s the physical reality of that same omnipresence you and I have a hard time believing in and experiencing, especially when we’re stuck in the middle of a very difficult time.
That’s why I believe Paul, in his message to the Roman church, clearly states that when we are found in difficult times (i.e. trouble, hard times, hatred, hunger, homelessness, bullying threats, backstabbing, etc.), we can rest assured that God and His unending, undying, unrelenting love for His children can always be found, especially if we can have the grace and patience to simply believe it is there.
As I see it, embracing Ignatius’ truth of finding God in all things is kinda like the popular kid’s book my children (and grandchildren) enjoyed over the last twenty-five years. Do you remember it?
If you recall, the point of the Where’s Waldo? book was for the reader to scan carefully through a myriad of related objects flooding each page, scouring for the tall, bespectacled man in the red and white striped shirt…the man named Waldo.
Maybe today, in the midst of our current troubles and trials, knowing that God and His love are present in all things, we might just take the extra time to look a bit deeper into our reality and find that, yes indeed, there’s our loving God standing right there, like Waldo, in the middle of it all!
My prayer: God, forgive me when I choose to believe the limited thoughts found in my puny, little pea-brain. Thoughts which surmise that You are missing-in-action, while in fact, You are right there, standing beside me, holding me up and holding me close during difficult and treacherous trials. May I choose to believe, with the help of the Spirit, to say like Paul and Ignatius, You are, indeed, God in all things. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Where do I need to apply this powerful truth, that God is in all things, in my life today? What type of response would I make to my challenges, hardships, and trials if I believed that my loving God was, in truth, in all things and has never deserted me?
How are you experiencing God as you ponder on these Ignatian truths today?
Over a period of twelve weeks (3 sessions per week), we will take this journey into Iggy’s Biggies, contemplating twelve foundational truths found within the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We suggest you bookmark our blog series homepage to keep all the writings in one place for your future reference. Take note that each blog session begins with a short scripture reading. My suggestion is that you don’t hurry through, or skip the text, but treat it as a Lectio Divina reading where you slow down and sit a bit with God’s Word, allowing it to penetrate and influence you as you read.
If you’ve never journeyed through the Exercises, might I suggest that you find a qualified spiritual director and ask them to accompany you along the way? Here at The Contemplative Activist, we can offer a good number of highly qualified folks to do just that.
Oh, and if you enjoy what you’re reading here, we encourage you to share this page and our website, The Contemplative Activist, with your friends!