Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. - Matthew 7:7-8
“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons we could not learn in any other way. The way we learn those lessons is not to deny the feelings but to find the meanings underlying them.” - Stanley Lindquist
“We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them.” - Charles C. West
You know, because religion is such an individualized and personal journey (I use the word journey because one's connection to their spiritual self is a never-ending voyage of self-discovery), I have deliberately abstained from including the topic in most of my blog posts (check out the strategic use of the word "most" because I am sure if we scrolled all 119 posts on here, somebody would find the reference to God somewhere). Anyhow, I just wanted to open up a dialogue on faith, how we experience it, how we nourish it, or if we are atheists, what do we believe in?
Growing up in Southern Ontario (Canada), while most certainly claimed to be associated with some kind of religion (mostly Christian where I grew up), the outward displays of worship were not as obvious as other places I've visited or lived. By that I mean, more did NOT go to church on Sundays than did, the reproductions of The Last Supper were absent from the walls of their homes, homes had Bibles but when asked where they were; no one knew where to find them and people ate burgers on Fridays. But, people still respected religion, and others right to practice.
Conversely, when I moved to Florida (yes...smack dab in the Bible Belt), religion was like a 3rd person in a relationship. Religious quotes permeated commercialized marketing, people got dressed up (VERY dressed up for church service), church was by and large a social gathering as much as it was an opportunity to worship, and everyone had crushes on their pastors (OK, maybe that was just me). I can't say for certain that I am 100% convinced that everything that is stated in the Bible absolutely went down the way it is written, but I do know for sure that worshipping with others deepened my relationship with God, at a time where no mortal could have been any support to me.
I figure if you're alive to even read this post, then you have somehow managed to escape some life-threatening experience whether it be a car accident, illness, or some other self-inflicted stupidity (i.e. over-drinking to the point of convulsions, experimenting with drugs you are not familiar with, or kissing somebody who just ate shrimp when you know perfectly well you are allergic to shellfish). The Lord DOES act in mysterious ways whether you believe or not. How many times have you been on your last dollar, and then find money in a jeans pocket? How many times did you feel like you reached your rope's end, want to throw yourself from a train (ok, not literally but you were feeling pretty down and out), and someone miraculously stepped in and lifted your mood). Did you think your loving partner found you by accident? That incredible job you have right now, was just a matter of sheer coincidence? Whether you are willing to attribute it to God's work of looking after His children or simply the Universe looking out for us human beings, we would be giving ourselves too much credit if we thought for a moment that we had orchestrated such blessings.
Wow! Listen to me, I'm all serious and ish. I guess that's because my Lord has always watched over me. From the time I had to tell my old-school thinking and uber-closeminded parent that I was pregnant at 18 (and somehow managed to live to actually give birth the child) to escaping the sharp blade of a butcher's knife pressed up against my neck from an insanely jealous boyfriend to having the courage to embark on a career change after such a long stint in big-box sales management, I guess I've always known that I've never been alone. (Yes, to this day, I still have a copy of "Footprints" hanging on my wall).
Whatever your beliefs, it is important to recognize that there are forces beyond our realm that protect us, guide us, and forgive us for our sins. If there weren't, then my number would have been up the very first time I stole cookies from the cookie jar, then dashed the cookie jar on the ground so it would break in order that the missing cookies were less of an issue - I'm still inclined to beg Him for forgiveness. I usually don't like to refer to the Lord by name unless it's in the context of genuine worship, so I implore you to "tank your Cod" daily, and acknowledge that the Lord provides a way better navigation tool than Garmin.