The Not So Hidden God
Remember when you were a little kid and your mom or maybe a nun at school told you that God is EVERYWHERE. I recall being sort of freaked out. You know what I mean? It made me nervous to know that God could see me, even when I was trying to light up one of my dad’s cigs in the bathroom.
In my grown-up way of envisioning God, I still see God as everywhere but it’s not the stern overseer of all my shortcomings that I see but a God of love. He (She) is not up in the clouds somewhere counting our failings. God is not “up there” at all but in me and in all of creation.
God is not a hidden God at all. He is easy to discover anywhere we look.
Want to see God? Look for Him in a young couple saying their “I do’s” to one another on their wedding day, or a soldier putting his life on the line for the country he loves, or parents working two jobs for their family, or entertainers volunteering their talents for starving children they will never see.
The God who is everywhere is in us. He is our better nature, the part of us that yearns for peace in the world and hope for our children. God lives in our longing for a just world where every kid has parents, who tuck him in at night, put away money for his education and show up for every school play.
The presence of God is not limited to our species. Who among us cannot see the hand of God in the way elephants will mourn the death of one of their own, or in the loyalty of dogs to their owners or the fierce protectiveness of a mother lioness towards her cubs? Call it “instinct” if you must but I see in that instinct an expression of love.
Ah! But you say, if God is everywhere, where is he when children in Somalia starve to death or when warlords recruit children to kill or when politicians act out of greed instead of following the conscience? How do we explain the seeming absence of God in the killing fields of Cambodia or the Holocaust? The French philosopher, Camus, put it powerfully. “Explain to me how God allows the suffering of children in our world and I will believe in Him.”
I don’t pretend to have an answer for Camus. Much greater intellects than mine have grappled with the mystery of evil in our midst. What helps me to reach even a glimmer of understanding of something so beyond me, is to acknowledge the awesome power in each of us to choose evil over good. It is not that God is absent but that we have the freedom to blind ourselves to His presence.
The yearning for power or greed has shut our eyes to that better nature for which we were created. God is still here but we look past Him. And, in doing so, we render Him, who is the source of love, invisible for us. The hidden God is not in hiding at all if we have eyes to see.