Daily Riches: Beyond the God of the Gaps (James Martin and John MacMurray)

“Fear not; the things you are afraid of are quite likely to happen to you, but they are nothing to be afraid of.” John MacMurray

“As I grew older, the model of God as the Great Problem Solver collapsed — primarily because God didn’t seem interested in solving all of my problems. …My lukewarm agnosticism …coalesced when my freshman-year roommate was killed in an automobile accident during our senior year. Brad was one of my closest friends, and his death was almost too much to bear. At Brad’s funeral …surrounded by Brad’s shattered family and my grieving friends, [I] thought about the absurdity of believing in a God who could allow this. By the end of the service I had decided not to believe in a God who would act so cruelly.  …Why believe in a God who either couldn’t or wouldn’t prevent suffering? …Jacque had lived in the same dorm with Brad and me during freshman year. Though wildly different from Brad in outlook and in interests, the two became close. After an accounting class one day …I told Jacque how angry I was at God, and how I decided that I would no longer go to church. My comments were flung at her like a challenge. ‘You’re the believer … explain this.’ ‘Well,’ she said softly, ‘I’ve been thanking God for Brad’s life.’ I can still remember … having my breath taken away by her answer. Rather than arguing about suffering, she was telling me that there were other ways to relate to God, ways other than as the Great Problem Solver. …her words reminded me that the question of suffering … is not the only question to ask about God. …that you can still live with the question of suffering and believe in God — much as a child can trust a parent even when he doesn’t fully understand all of the parent’s ways. …Not until I entered the Jesuits did I begin hearing about a different kind of God — a God who was with you in your suffering, a God who took a personal interest in your life, even if you didn’t feel that all your problems were solved — that things started to make some sense. … it helped me understand the importance of being in a relationship with God, even during difficult times.” James Martin

“Take heart, because
I have overcome the world.”
Jesus in John 16:33

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you still relate to God as “the God of the gaps?”
  • Must your questions be answered before you can trust God?
  • Do you know the God who is “with you in your suffering?”

Abba, help me take my rightful place before you and in your world.

For More: The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin


Daily Riches: The Ever-Present God in Your Ever-Present Loss (Frank Bianco)

“Had the truck come one minute sooner or later … had the drivers stopped for coffee … or skipped a break … the accident might never have happened. …As I began walking toward [the church], Tom called softly … ‘I’m sorry, old buddy. … Give God a chance. Listen. I think that’s what’s most important now. Just listen.’ God did not kill my son, I thought as I sat in the church. Then if there is a God, I asked, where did he fit in all of this? Something told me, ‘love.’ That was God’s most dominant characteristic, an all-encompassing, unqualified love….  If that was true, then God had to ‘feel’ the love I had for Michael. It had to be part of his experience. And he had to know my pain. … If he did, he had to feel as badly as any friend. At least that much. He had been as much a part of Michael’s creation as had Marie and I. He knew the joy that had been Michael. The pain had to cut him deeply. As deeply as it did me. He had to be grieving my – our – loss, sorrowing as Christ’s own mother must have sorrowed. All this was … pulling and then sweeping me along. The God I had reviled and rejected had been waiting to mourn with me, burdened with sorrow he would share with me. I felt so ashamed. I had been so wrong, for so long. Yet God had never given up on me. …Then, without warning, the experience of Michael’s death began to replay in my mind … surging up inside me, a mass of agony and pain, and I wanted to get up and run. But … I heard the words, ‘I know. I know. As you did, as you still do, I love him too. I know.’ I stayed put, weeping, as the pain poured out. But not alone. Not unconsoled. This time I wept in the arms of my God, whom I finally allowed to hold me….” Frank Bianco

“we know how dearly God loves us”
Romans 5:5

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you sense God grieving with you in your losses?
  • Can you “give him a chance” and let him show himself to you?
  • Can you let him just hold you?

Abba, why should I run from you when you’re only waiting to love me?

For More: Voices of Silence by Frank Bianco


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”