What do you expect from God? This Sunday’s gospel shows us the silence of God. There can be times in our lives when we wonder why God seems not only distant, but absent. The disciples experience this even though they are in the very presence of God. Jesus is in the boat. But Jesus is asleep. And the storm must have been especially fierce since even experienced fishermen were afraid.
Our lives too can be filled with storms and difficulties that terrify us. So many people can have lives that are broken. They can feel alone, afraid, terrified. They can believe that no one, not even God cares about them. Maybe you feel that way. Maybe in your life you feel alone, or abandoned, or afraid, with no one to turn to. It is why we so often need to pray for each other, because life can be very, very hard.
But just as Jesus does with the disciples, so too he does for us. He gently reminds them he is God. He asks about their faith. He is the loving God who never, ever abandons us. He loves us in all we do. Even when we feel alone, we are never really alone. And we can have everyday experiences where we sense the absence from others even though we know they are in our lives.
For example, married couples, even though they know they are loved by each other can still feel lonely. Even though I have close friends, I can still feel separated from them or distant from them. We can find ourselves in a big crowd and still feel absolutely alone.
Why is this? Because other people are just that, other. And our God is the ultimate Other in our lives. What does all this mean? Our lives are always the attempt in to always wish the best for others, that is what we should do, even when we might only be able to see what is best for us. A husband might ask his wife to do something not because it is good for his wife but is something only he really wants to do. We might want our friends to do something with us not because it would be good for all of us, but because it is something we selfishly want.
And we can do the same thing in our prayer life too. In making prayer to God, we can limit our requests by our limited view of what is good for us. I try to thank God for the difficulties in my life because they can serve as reminders to us, to me, that I need God, we need God, we must depend upon God. They can serve as ways that help us to see more clearly ways to grow in trust and faith.
Of course, this is not easy. Far from it. While I try to do the things I mentioned above, I fail more than I succeed. I try to remember that I should consider the good of my community or my friends or my colleagues, yet I still find myself too often thinking only of myself. And when it comes to God, I still find myself all too often wondering why God does not want to do what I want Him to do, rather than seeking to discover and to follow his will for me.
What do you expect from God? Take some time this week to consider this question so that you may grow closer to God and to live life more fully in his presence.
This meditation is for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings can be found here.