“Then the LORD said: ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will pass by.’ There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a still, small voice. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.”
-1 Kings 19:11-13
We can’t always be looking for God in the huge surprises of our lives, the lightning strikes and the earthquakes. Oh sure, he’s in there all right. But when we stop looking for God in the smallest things, even in the “coincidences,” we’re missing the way that God likes to speak to us most clearly.
You see, our God is the God of history (yup, that’s right, “his story,” buh-dump-shuh!), and he acts and makes himself known in some pretty awesome ways, but also sometimes in the silliest little details of our lives. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty and reveal himself to us with what we might mistake as “coincidences.”
That’s one of the most important thins to realize here at the Seminary I think. When we forget that God’s going to be working in everything going on here, it’s really easy to start complaining about every little inconvenience, every little stress. Sometimes, though, God makes himself known in some of the simplest ways, letting us know we’re not as completely in control as we sometimes think we are.
Case in point, just last Friday I had been teaching all day at my field education placement. Really, a joy to be able to share my experience and my relationship with God and to call it teaching. So by the end of the day I’m pretty beat (yeah, way more respect for all teachers out there), and I head out for a nice long walk outside of campus. As soon as I make my way back onto the Seminary property, one of my classmates is driving out the gate to head off to Mass at St. Mary Magdalene’s. And it hits me, in my teaching daze and my reflective unwinding, I had forgotten that I was planning on driving myself on over to Mass. So I hop in my buddy’s car and tag along with him. In the end, it was nice to catch up with him and worship with him. I don’t spend enough time with him, so I can’t help but to feel like God was reminding me of a few things with his little master stroke of, that’s right, “coincidence.”
Every little insignificant detail worked itself out just right. From my forgetfulness and exhaustion, to my lack of time to get to my own car in time to drive over before Mass was ended, even to my classmate’s tendency to run a little bit behind schedule on most things (if he had been running early, I would have missed him and probably never even remembered I hadn’t gone to Mass yet), everything worked out well to get me to Mass when otherwise it was beyond my control.
Yeah, so I’m pretty sure God was making himself known in the smallest of ways. It’s no great conversion story of epic proportions, but I hope it’s just silly enough to make one thing clear: God doesn’t need to throw lightning bolts and level mountains to get our attention. Sometimes he just reminds us how he doesn’t mind breaking into our daily life to draw us closer to himself.