How many times have you heard people say that they don’t believe in God
because of all the suffering in our world? The argument is that all the pain
and evil prove that, either there can be no God, or if there is a God, then
God has abandoned us, which means that worship is useless. The problem
with this thinking is that it views God in a very unhelpful way—as a divine
superman who is wholly apart from us and who should (according to us)
come swooping in to save the day whenever something goes wrong. It is
also a very unhelpful view of human beings, since it sees us as essentially
helpless and unable to participate in the healing of our world’s suffering.
As much as we ask God why God allows all the pain in our world, God
could ask us the same question!
The story of Jesus’ baptism reveals a very different picture of God and of
us. First, God shows us what we need to do and become in order to
experience full, abundant, and meaningful life, and gives us a choice to
listen or not. Then, secondly, God comes and lives among us—within us—
and shares our grief, our tears, our pain, our sin, while constantly calling us
back to life. So, not only does God journey with us through our suffering.
God also gives us the divine power and presence to navigate and heal our
own brokenness. This is what Jesus’ baptism means for us!
Perhaps the best way to stay aware of God’s presence is to constantly
practice praise. We praise God not because God needs us to, but because
we need to be reminded that there is a God, and that God is always with
us. Try to give praise for God’s presence at every opportunity today.
I praise you, O Christ, that you are always with me.