I have a hard time with God sometimes. I can pray to Him and I can also talk as if He was right next to me, like talking to a friend or a parent. But there are so many times I just want to see Him, though, you know? I confess often that I wish I had someone just like Him in the flesh to talk to, to share my troubles with and physically put my head on their shoulder while embracing in a hug.
I feel so bad for confessing that because spiritually, I know God is right here with me. Always. Putting his arm around me and comforting me. Spiritually I feel it, but physically I want to feel it more.
Then, out of the blue, a friend sends me a message telling me her “God sighting”, telling me that she thought of me when it happened.
It didn’t take long to have it hit me that God was speaking to me through my friend. The story she shared was so filled with the word of God to me, even though it was her own encounter with God. God answered my prayer and became a human.
I have a hard time with God sometimes, but am so thankful that he doesn’t feel the same about me.
Thank you God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Call me a late-bloomer. In my early 40s, I marched in step, while dancing in my heart, to the band playing Pomp and Circumstance for the college graduating class of 2009. I worked hard for this glorious milestone. While employed full-time for 14 years with the same company, I attended evening and Saturday classes taking anywhere from 3 to 9 credit hours each semester for 6 years. Many late nights were spent reading textbooks and writing papers. I am the youngest of five in my family, and the first to graduate college.
Having made the Dean’s List 3 times and excelling in the capstone classes with A+ as my final grade, I was bursting with confidence. Bursting with confidence, even though a month before my graduation I was blind-sided with a 60-day notice that my job was being eliminated. The blind-side was softened by promises that the Human Resources Department would assist me in finding another position within the company.
In October, 2008, God called home the president of the division, whom I supported for five years. Understandably, a shift in management ensued and my job became redundant when the newly-appointed president decided to retain his current assistant. I cried on my husband’s shoulder that evening the day the bomb dropped on me. This news stung my pride like a very angry bee. As the last step of our debt-snowball, we had planned to pay off our house the following year and this unexpected news was forcing us to recalculate our timing and finances.
During my 60-day sentence, the Human Resources Department proved not as agreeable in assisting my job search within the company as promised. However, I was blessed with a temporary boss that knew my situation and he allowed me the freedom to network within the company. I felt like a door-to-door salesman selling my work ethic, job skills and experience, and of course, highlighting my new degree to management throughout the company.
Time moved forward and the new president rearranged his corner office and I regretfully trained his assistant. Word spread that my days were numbered. Often asked how I was coping with this news and transition, I was able to witness confidently that God has a plan for my life and I was not at all worried.
My inter-company networking and salesmanship paid off and I was the first of many candidates interviewed for a position on that final week of my employment. I knew I was over-qualified, but my confidence was still running high and I really wanted to stay with the company. After all, 14 years was a long time to give up without a fight.
I was invited to lunch every day of that last week by co-worker-turned-friends. Everyone in my department held a special lunch in my honor on the final Friday. I was given an over-sized homemade card signed by the team along with gifts, balloons, and a sugar-high from the icing on the farewell cake. At 4:30pm that day, after everyone left to begin their weekend, I waited by the office phone in anticipation of a call from Human Resources to either invite me to the exit interview or extend a job offer.
The phone rang and I heard myself accepting the job offer. Humbled by the love shown to me from so many on that final week, I likened it to being at my own funeral and popping out of the casket and asking everyone what was going on because I was simply taking a nap.
In my mind’s eye, I replay this time when I juggled a full-time job, late nights reading textbooks, writing papers, and trying to keep up with house and husband. I know God carried me through it all. I never gave in to worry the day after the bomb dropped on me. I believed God’s promises written in Romans 5:3-5 (NRSV),
”And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
Even as a late-bloomer, I never gave up on God because he never gives up on me.
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
If change is inevitable, why do we have such a hard time when it happens?
From my childhood recollection, the days were longer; my parents worked for the same company from the day I was born to the day they retired, and our family schedule was so consistent you could set your clock by our routine. But as I age, the days seem shorter, working for one company your whole career is unheard of, and nobody needs a routine because cable television has a convenient feature called DVR.
Consistency is comforting. My cats know when it’s feeding time, my spouse always returns home, and my playlists on my iPod are programmed with my favorite songs. But what happens when there is a shift from the norm?
The Pastor of my church made that shift from the norm. He wasn’t even with us for a full year before he left abruptly about two weeks ago. No good-bye party, no parting gifts, no keeping in touch; just gone from our lives due to personal reasons. We were left cold in our pews with a void in leadership. However, God has blessed my congregational family with a stand-in Pastor who led our congregation less than a year ago. He sympathizes with our heavy hearts. I believe his reassuring words today were Spirit-inspired messages from our God and Father, as they were genuine and comforting.
Change is inevitable. From my Christian perspective, our days are a gift from God, He knows us from before conception to the day we will die. Even Pastors change careers, and routines are hard to keep because the world is forever evolving. The abrupt departure may not make sense to my congregation, but we are pulling together once again because we have faith in the God we serve. He will not leave us nor will he forsake us, He will not leave us orphans as He holds us up with his righteous right hand. God is our comforting consistency.
For the Pastor that left us, the stand-in Pastor that is with us, and the Pastor that is to come, I pray these words from 2 Thessalonians 1:11
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.