Recently my five year-old granddaughter Anna decided that God is probably a man because “God is kind of a boyish sounding name”. She also remembered that in her Children’s Bible, God is referred to as Jesus’ father and because fathers are men God must be a man, too. I suppose we’ll deal with the Holy Spirit’s sexuality later.
Such is the need for concrete theology when you’re five years old. Anna needs black and white answers. And I get that. But what about adults? Why are so of us many hung up on the minutia? Why is the rule book so important? Why do we try to put God in a box. Why is it necessary to humanize the divine? Why does it seem that we must always make God small enough to fit in our limited view of life? And where do we find God? In the clouds? In our churches?
Lately I have realized that I’ve been looking for God in all the wrong places. Or at least I’m not looking EVERYWHERE. Or in EVERYONE. Thus I limit God. I suppose that there’s a little five year-old inside me that wants (needs) God to be a man and wants (needs) God to be up in heaven at the controls. That would be easier in so many ways. It’s comforting to think that I can just tuck God away for safekeeping. To be pulled out and dusted off when I need God. Of course we ask for God’s help and mercy during tragic times. Often it’s hard to find God in catastrophic events like the tornado this week in Oklahoma. Where are you God? If you are truly omnipotent, then please make the bad stuff stop!
But I believe that God’s hands are at work in pulling survivors from the rubble. I believe that God is in those who are comforting the mourning and bringing relief to the suffering. And I keep finding God in people who fill my life with love and joy.
Mostly I find God in my wife’s touch, in my children’s voices, and in my grandchildren’s laughter. God is present in the Eucharist but also present in my friends and my neighbors and the clerk at the local market and in my co-workers. It just takes a little focus (prayer) sometimes to see Him/Her.
So church is fine and clouds are beautiful and nature is awesome but I don’t find God there as often as I’d like (should?). God is here with me. And you. Next door. Down the hall. Just around the bend. God refuses to be limited by my human constraints and I keep reminding myself that God is not distant. I am.