Today’s Word: ‘Assumptions’ as in… whenever we mingle our grief with our spirituality—what we believe about the Spirit’s presence in our grief, or why we’re grieving, it’s easy to make all kinds of assumptions.
Our assumptions are usually based on long lists of questions that we have about whatever it is that is causing our grief. Why do we do this? There are many reasons, but mostly we do this because it’s easy and it’s safe. When we’re buried in grief it’s easy to assume God is AWOL.
We ask, “Where is God in this mess?”
We wonder, “Why is God so hard to find?”
The assumption, of course, is that that God is somehow absent; that God has to be found. But if we assume that God is absent and has to be found, then we’re faced with even more questions:
Does God really play “hide-and-seek” with us?
Does God have a schedule that gets filled up while we get squeezed out?
Does God really get too busy for us?
If we keep holding on to these assumptions, at some point we’ll end up here: either God is with us or God is against us. People have been bumping on these questions since The Beginning.
But as long as these questions have been mingled with our grief, this, too, has been true:
“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD rescues them from them all.”
Powerful, ancient words for our present and future hope!
My late friend, Eugene Peterson heard these words from Psalm 37 a slightly different way:
“Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.”
Let’s choose a new assumption: God is always with us.