“…No matter our circumstances or situation in life, God comes to us, abides with us, and strengthens us for the journey ahead.” Photo: Shutterstock
Philosophers have asked the question: “Is the world friendly?” Put another way they have asked, “Is there a heart at the heart of the universe?”
Haven’t we all asked such questions, especially when we are lonely, frightened, or anxious about the future? Is the world a friendly place? Are we left alone to fend for ourselves, or is there a benevolent presence to watch over us, guard us, guide us and protect us? Is there a God, and if God does exist, does such a God care about us?
Christianity answers that question with a resounding “YES!” At a point in time over two thousand years ago God entered into the fullness of our humanity, dwelling among us, and bearing love, unrestricted love, total and complete love.
God got down to earth in the person of Jesus to meet us right where we are.
And even today, no matter our circumstances or situation in life, God comes to us, abides with us, and strengthens us for the journey ahead. God comes as friend, as companion, as one who would save us from whatever might threaten to overwhelm or obliterate us. We may turn our backs on God, but God never turns his back on us. We may reject God, but God never rejects us. We may say “no” to God, but God always says “yes” to us. Again and again, God plunges into our depths to show us his love – a love that never gives up on us, never abandons us, and never forsakes us, no matter what.
Somewhere I came across the story of Dr. John Rosen, a New York City psychiatrist. He had dedicated his life to helping those pitiful souls with catatonia. A catatonic is a person with a type of schizophrenia that causes muscular rigidity and mental stupor, sometimes great excitement or terrible confusion. Their illness consumes them.
Dr. Rosen decided that he could best understand and treat his patients if he actually lived with them. So he moved into their ward, to sleep with them, eat with them, and try to communicate with them. Obviously, it was a difficult undertaking. But the doctor is a very patient man. He accepts his patients as they are, talking when they want to talk, just being there when they don’t, hugging them when they seem to need a human touch. With medication and his presence, he tries to love his tortured patients out of their pain and confusion into wholeness and hope.
Sometimes he’s successful. Sometimes clarity and freedom and health come. The disease begins to loosen its grip and sanity returns. It’s then that the first words the doctor usually hears are these: “Thank you. Thank you.”
If you are a Christian who believes in the mystery of Incarnation, then never neglect to say “thank you” to God. Thank you, God, for coming in Jesus to save us. Thank you for showing us the way of life. Thank you for the freedom, hope, and joy you have brought us this day and every day. Thank you for giving us strength in the present to face whatever comes our way, and the hope that never gives up on life because in the end tomorrow will be better than today. Thank you for revealing yourself in Jesus our Lord who is with us now and even forevermore. Amen.
— The Rev. Dr. Gary Nicolosi is the rector at St. James Westminster Anglican Church in London, Ont.