If you’re anything like me from time to time you probably find yourself asking, “God, are you out there?” This morning is one of those mornings. I’m in a true-blue funk. Work has been particularly stressful lately – extremely busy with a staff that has been stretched too thin (apparently this is a trend in businesses today – I’m sure some CEO is making even more money for that idea!); I have a friend that is dealing with a heartbreaking situation with her daughter; Debbie’s dealing with some health issues; and our son’s impending divorce and the consequences of what that will mean to our granddaughter has been keeping me awake nights.
Not that there haven’t been joyful things happening but sometimes the bad stuff just outweighs the good stuff. And I start asking, “God, are you out there?” Of course in due time I realize (remember?) that God is not out there; God is in here. In me. And you. I’ve come to believe that we must be Christ to one another – to share the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. G0d’s not sitting out there on some mystical cloud looking down with a heavenly ‘remote control’ – “I think I’ll smite Wilhelm today – ha, ha, ha!” God sent his Son to earth to redeem our sins and the Holy Spirit is with us always – especially when we don’t know it (or feel it).
I try (I really do) to be Christ to others – I mostly fail. But I am blessed with others who are constantly being Christ to me. And during these difficult times I will find comfort and solace being in their presence. When I pray for God’s help, I am always rewarded by an intervention from one of his disciples – right here; right now!
My best friend’s wife, Ronica, is one of those disciples of Christ. And I doubt that she realizes that she has ever brought Christ to me. That’s how she is: self-deprecating, unpretentious, and modest. She doesn’t like attention (which I really don’t understand – it’s something I crave), she won’t take credit for most of the good that she has done, and she is really kind (especially to old people – which will come in handy for me someday).
Now it’s not that Ronica has had an easy life or has all the answers but she listens – really listens. And she always puts aside her own heartaches to deal with yours. I’ve seen her stop to help total strangers, when most of us would just walk on by. She’s not doing it because she’s some kind of living saint – she just helps people. And she befriends people that most of us would avoid (or run from!). She has the uncanny ability to ask an amputee “how they lost it” without being offensive or intrusive. I just marvel at her!
What’s most amazing to me is that when you are in need, Ronica will bare her all to help you. I mean that literally – If I fell down and Ronnie had to show her ass to a roomful of people to help me up off the floor, she would do it without a moment of hesitation. She will put aside her own vanity or embarrassment to aid a friend (or stranger). I’ve seen it happen many, many times and I’ve been the welcome recipient a time or two.
I’ve known Ronica for 35 years. When we first met she was like a lamb; painfully shy and very quiet. Now she is a like a lioness; brave, loyal and fiercely protective. Deb and I love to be together will Alan and Ronica – we always share a good time and exercise our ‘laugh’ muscles. But we’ve been together through some tough times, too. That’s what friends are for. And I know that I can always count on their friendship.
Saturday their younger son Dustin was married – what a great day! During the recitation of the vows, his soon-to-be wife, Jessica was overcome by emotion. She began to cry and Dustin stopped everything and just held her and allowed her to compose herself – he didn’t care that there was a congregation of people with their mouths gaping open wondering what might happen next. He just held her in his arms and became Christ for her at that moment. I couldn’t help but wonder if Ronica knew that she had modeled that behavior for him?
I know now that when I cry, “God, are you out there?” He is not. God is in here. In Ronica; in Dustin; and hopefully sometimes in me, too.