Three Things You Need to Know About God

On July 24, 2017, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

Three Things You Need to Know About God Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins July 23, 2017 Let there be peace among us and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s words be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen. In the prayer red today from the 139th […]

Three Things You Need to Know About God
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins
July 23, 2017

Let there be peace among us and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s words be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen.

In the prayer red today from the 139th psalm, we find three important verities.
1. God is omnipresent.
2. God is able and willing to help us feel better.
3. God knows our innate goodness.

1. Omnipresence

There’s not a spot where God is not!

“There is no time, no place, no state where God is absent.” ACIM

“No matter how dark things become, someone is always with you – and that someone is God.” Norman Vincent Peale

There’s a story about two fish that were in a heated argument one day. One believed in this mysterious thing called an ocean. The other didn’t. The doubtful fish asked, “Have you ever seen the ocean? Have you ever met anyone who encountered it and came back to tell of it?” But the believing fish couldn’t accept that there was no ocean. The believer had no more evidence than the doubter did, but somehow, the believing fish intuited that there was an ocean, and somehow, the believing fish felt very close it. Both fish were in the ocean, of course. They were born in the ocean. The ocean was part of them. They breathed the ocean. Swam in the ocean. Lived every moment of their lives in and part of the ocean. Believing or not believing didn’t make the ocean more favorable to one or less accepting of the other; but the one who was able to perceive the ocean got to enjoy its benefits more, and trusting in its abundance gave the believing fish great hope and comfort.

Of course, God is the ocean in which we live, and move, and have our being.

2. God is willing to help

My grandmother said grace at every meal, read a portion of the Bible every day, went to church most weeks that her health allowed, and knelt on the hard floor to pray every night before bed. Her theology wasn’t very similar to mine, but her devotion was inspiring. She loved God, and she believed that God heard her prayers. She didn’t always receive the answer she wanted, but she received enough to make her believe her prayers made a difference. And in any case, the practice of prayer helped her feel close to God in good times and in difficult times.

I once heard of a woman who was experiencing a challenge, and so she took the matter into prayer. She pulled up a chair and said, “Dear God, have a seat; we need to talk.”
She then knelt in front of the chair and continued her prayer. She really felt as if God was with her, and by the end of her prayer, she was very much relieved. She trusted that God was present with her, and acted as if that were true, and immediately, she felt better.

If we had a pain in our side, we’d immediately hold it, hoping that doing so would provide relief.
If we had achy fingers or a stiff neck, we’d massage them, again, trying to provide relief. If something in us were hurting, we’d try to ease the pain.

We are in God, part of God, and our prayers for help are like nerve endings sending signals for aid. And, God immediately holds the pain, massages the ache, tries to soothe the discomfort.

Rather than thinking of God as an authority beyond us that sometimes deigns to show up and offer a hand, the psalmist shows us we can think of God as the home in which we live, and since we are at home in God, God’s comfort is always available to us, like a child’s laugh, a spouse’s kiss, or the smell of grandma’s apple pie.

3. God knows our innate goodness.

In the New Testament, we read in the book of Ephesians that there is
“One God who is the Source of all, through all, and in you all.”

God could no more abandon us than we could rip out our own hearts.
We are that integrated into the Reality of God…that’s what omnipresence means…everywhere, fully present. If God is, and we are, then we are in and part of God. God is the ground of our being, the source and substance of our lives, and when God sees us God is seeing the best of us, the spark of divinity within us, a reflection of God’s own goodness.

Our mistakes, our personalities, our fears, our shortcomings…those things aren’t us. When God sees us, God sees the truth, and the truth is we are made of God-stuff, created by God, filled with God’s light, part of the universal body of God which is very good.

When we trust that God is omnipresent, and that God is good, then we can also trust that we are inheritors of God’s goodness, and that truth is what God knows about us.

In this life or the next, we can’t be separate from God.
In this life and the next, because God is with us, God is able to comfort us.
And because God is with us and able to comfort us, we can also know that God is willing to do so because God sees the part of us that even we don’t see sometimes…the part that is, always has been, and always will be perfect. Even the places we might call dark, God sees as light. Because we are in and of God, and God is light, and in light, there can be no darkness.

I grew up afraid of God, wondering if God knew about my sufferings, cared about them, or perhaps was even the one causing my pain. I never want anyone to have such an anguished understanding of God, and, if anyone is burdened by oppressive theologies, I want to offer them a more liberating understanding of the divine, a more healing experience of the One who is the Source of all, through all, and in us all.

I want all of us to trust that God is with us, God always wishes to comfort us when we are troubled, and God always sees our innate goodness, since, after all, we are God’s miracle and not God’s mistake.

Let the psalmist’s prayer be ours today:
“Where can I go then from your Spirit? where can I flee from your presence? If I climb up to heaven, you are there; if I make the grave my bed, you are there also. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand will lead me and your right hand hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will cover me, and the light around me turn to night’, darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day; darkness and light to you are both alike.”

And this is the good news. Amen.

Dear God, you are omnipresent.
I trust you are willing and able to help me.
And I am glad that you see goodness within me.
And so it is.

 

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