At difficult times in our lives we can often wonder, "What is God doing?"
Sometimes the question takes the form of a cry for help: "God, what are you doing?!"
We can feel disappointed, forgotten, betrayed, abandoned by God. We can get this feeling when someone we love passes away. When we learn of a diagnosis that's hard to accept. When we lose our job or have trouble paying the bills. When situations overwhelm us or we have been deeply hurt. We can feel that our prayers are going unanswered. We can feel that God is distant, absent, or disinterested. We can feel forsaken, forgotten about, without guidance, help, or direction.
In a certain sense, I think it's fair to say that the world has been experiencing this tumultuous rollercoaster ride of rocky situations for over a year now. Both in our own backyard and all across the globe, we have witnessed hardships that none of us would have imagined beforehand. Amid such tough moments, it is so easy to lose hope, wondering what's the point of all this.
Some people have suggested that God sent the pandemic to teach us some lesson or who knows why. But we Christians know that God does not send evil into the world.
We know that God died for humanity. We know that our God is merciful and compassionate, leading us to the fullness of life forever. God does not hoodwink us or play vengeful tricks. He created us and loves us.
So what is God doing these days and how can we better see what he is up to? Here are three "P" words to get us started...
1) PRAYER: Prayer is the pair of glasses that enables us to see God at work in our midst.
The news can often frustrate or discourage us. How about taking a few minutes each day to read the Good News and soak in God's Word, rather than simply tuning in to whatever appears on our screens? Talk to God, especially at the beginning and end of the day. Ask Him to help you to spend the day with Him and to open you to His presence and loving action in your life. Ask Him for His help and light. Instead of only asking, "God, please help me with this..." as we often do, take the time to ask Him: "God what are You doing today, and how can I help?"
: As John the Baptist pointed out Jesus so others would recognize Him as the Messiah, we too need people to help us recognize God in our lives. Who are the people that help you see God? How are you one of those people for others, helping them to better see Him? Our words and actions are like little signposts, pointing people in one direction or the other:
towards hope or towards worry, towards understanding or towards pettiness, towards love or towards division. How can we point people in the direction of God?
3) PLAY YOUR PART
: Asking what God is doing not only helps us to open our eyes to see Him; it also brings us to open our heart and our hands.
What part does God want you to play? How can you contribute to what He's doing in your own life, in the lives of those you love, in the lives of those in need? What can you do to work with Him in your family, in your job, in the community, your parish, and the world?
When we let God open our eyes, we will see that He is present in the voice of the ICU nurse who sings to her patients
, in parents who still try to be patient with their kids even after hard days of online learning, in all those who put others before themselves in so many different ways across our society and throughout the entire human family.
The question is: What is God inviting you to do with Him?
How is He calling you to collaborate with Him? What part does God want you to play in helping Him to act in other people's lives? Don't hesitate to ask Him: God, open my eyes to see what you are doing, and my heart and hands to work with You.
Julian would be happy to hear from you, with any questions, insights, or suggestions you may have regarding this blog series. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julian Paparella is a theology student at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family Studies in Rome. Born and raised in London, Ontario, he has worked in pastoral ministry in Montreal and Paris, especially with young people. Julian strives to communicate our faith in a way that resonates with everyday life, helping people to better experience God today. He is married to Marion.