You’ll often hear me talk about finding God in the details. Are you able to do that?
I can catch myself looking for God in the details where I expect to find Him, looking for him in the ways I expect Him to show up. God being God, that’s not always His will, His way, His when, His how.
God in the Details?
In the Old Testament is the story of Esther, a remarkable story of a beautiful Jewish woman who becomes queen of Persia and through an incredible series of events she saves her people, the Jewish people, from annihilation.
Esther’s story is full of drama and intrigue, twists and turns. At times we wonder how things could possibly get worse and then they do. In the end, the Jews are saved when Esther reveals a cruel plot and the king gives the Jews permission to defend themselves against the horrific actions of one man, a day commemorated with the feast of Purim.
Not only is Esther’s story remarkable for its plot line, but it’s the only book in our Bible where God’s name is never mentioned. Nope, not once. Even more remarkable is our ability to see God in the details when a woman is chosen and then lead “for such a time as this” as we read in Esther, chapter 4, verse 14.
Several weeks ago I attended a memorial service.
The memorial service was beautiful remembrance of an incredible lady, but God was never mentioned. Nope, not once. But He was everywhere, not something I realized until later that day.
The service was held on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. We gathered at a local church. The service was carefully outlined in a program handed to us as we entered, cookies carefully arranged for an informal gathering afterwards.
In the middle of the pandemic, friends and family came together to share sorrow and grief, joys and memories.
I’m a woman of faith who is part of the Lutheran church. We love the cross, the reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice for each one of us. This particular church had no cross, no altar. They had a stage.
I stiffened a little in my seat. So we’re going to have something flash on the screen, I’m wondering? Not my preference, but OK.
But that didn’t happen. No cross, not one.
The service was led by a family friend, not a pastor. I wasn’t sure of the family’s church affiliation, but figured the pastor, a pastor, some pastor, any pastor would be at the ready for the important parts—you know the prayers and the message.
But that didn’t happen. No pastor. No prayers. No message.
See where this is going?
For an hour I fussed in my seat. Where was God?
How can you celebrate a life without celebrating the creator of life? How can we share comfort and peace, hope and solace without sharing God’s love and faithfulness?
Later that day I opened my front door to a quiet knock. There waiting for me was a bouquet of flowers from the memorial service, beautiful pink flowers of all shapes and sizes, a faint scent sweetening the air.
And that’s when I began to see God in the details—earlier when we’d gathered as friends and family at the memorial service and now when I’d answered the door.
Was God mentioned? Nope, not once.
Was God present? Yep, everywhere.
God in the details!
Looking at the bouquet, I thought about the details of the afternoon.
Had there been a cross? An altar? No, but we’d been in the church, God’s church.
Were we gathered as people of faith? I don’t know, but I do know that seated together with me and my husband were Chuck, Shirley, Mary and Mr. Clark, all neighbors, all people faith. Not only did we have the honor and privilege of surrounding the family that afternoon, but we get to surround them each and every day in our neighborhood.
Did we share a prayer? No, not one. But seeing the reference to prayer in the outline for the service, I shared my own quiet prayer—several, in fact. I thought back to our time together. How many others were doing the same?
Did we hear a message? No, but how many of us were thinking about God and what He would want us to know and feel and share as we gathered together.
God in the Details!
No, God was never mentioned, but He was everywhere.
He was bigger than the moment. He is bigger that the moment. He’s bigger than our plans. His love knows no bounds. His faithfulness is not limited to what we do or what we don’t do, what we pray out loud or what we pray in our hearts.
My neighbors know that I’m a woman of faith.
They know I’m good for a prayer and a hug in the middle of the street when times are difficult. They know that I’m part of something bigger. They may not understand what the “bigger” is, but they know something’s up.
I’m not sure what God will do with that. I’m not sure where His Spirit will take us. But it’s not about me; it’s not about us. It’s about what God’s doing in, through, and around us.
We can always find God in the details—where we expect to find Him, where we expect Him to show up. And God being God, He’s also where we don’t expect to find Him, where we don’t expect Him to show up—according to His will, His way, His when, His how. God in the details!
Today’s prayer is based on Lamentations 3:22-23. Lamentations is a book in the Old Testament.
Your steadfast love never ceases.
Your mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning.
Great is your faithfulness. Amen.
May you see God in the details this day and every day!