Throughout my life as a Christian, I have been encouraged to ask myself the question “Where was God in that?” or “Where did I meet with God today?” I have tended to think of it as a comforting question; a question that acknowledges that some days feel quite ordinary, perhaps even a little bit boring, and some days are horribly difficult, but if we ask the “Where was God in that?” question and are able to answer it, then “our fears may be dispelled, our loneliness eased and our hope reawakened” as the Methodist Worship Book puts it.
But perhaps I am wrong, or at least, not altogether right. Perhaps the question is not “Where was God in that so that I may feel comforted?” but “Where was God in that so that I might join him in action?”
As we look around us now at a world reeling from the effects of two years’ of global pandemic, war between Ukraine and Russia, rapidly rising energy prices, to say nothing of the cost of fuel at the petrol station, increases in food bills and so on, we see people of all faiths and none rising to the challenge to join in with those who are seeking to help. Food banks, baby banks, work among the homeless, the housing of refugees from Ukraine, or working with refugees and asylum seekers from other situations and other wars fill the time, effort and thoughts of a startling number of people. How do we identify where God is at work and join in? And how do we join in when many of our congregations are feeling worn and over-stretched? We may feel as if the last mountain-top experience was a very long time ago and that we have been travelling through the valley of the shadow of death for far longer than we care to think about.
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and
burdened and I will give you rest.” Now is the time to come, not when we have got through it all and feel at peace again, not when we know that “all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well” but right now, while we feel weary and burdened and fearful. It is time for us to re-gather ourselves as individuals and as the church family, to meet together, to pray together, to seek God and to find out where he is and what he is doing so that whether he is leading us further into the valley, or out onto the mountains, we need not ask the question “Where was God in that?” because the answer can only be “Walking beside us.”