The Silent God
God is closer than you think.
"No creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews 4:13) "My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from Me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes." (Jeremiah 16:17)
Although God is not totally immersed in the fabric of creation (pantheism), He is present everywhere at all times. I have often thought about the omnipresence of God and how that affects Humanity. From the very beginnings we are told that after creation, God comes to walk with Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden every day. But on one day, they did not come out to meet God but hid from Him instead. God called out saying: "Adam where are you?" Adam replied: " We are here in the bushes hiding?" God then asked: "Why are you hiding?" God then asked: "Did you eat the fruit from the forbidden tree?" Now, this is important to understand when Adam answered God he said: "The woman (Eve) that You gave me bids me eat and I did eat." God addressed Eve: "Woman what have done?" Eve answers: "The serpent (symbol of temptation) You created bid me eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree so that we could be like You knowing 'good from evil'" God then cursed the serpent (deceiver) and promised a Messiah would come and subdue his deception brought on Humankind. Afterward, God cast Adam & Eve from the Garden of Eden to work and die in their own labors.
This story was symbolic and the Hebrew writers were answering the question of where sin comes from. From Innocence comes Guilt and from Guilt comes Sin. The Original Sin was blaming God for Human actions, not taking responsibility for what they had done. God knew what they did (after the fact) and he asked them and they blamed Him for what they had done.
When a baby dies I have heard people say in the most comforting ways: "It's God's will and we'll understand one day when we all get to heaven." Or a young person dies unexpectedly: "It's all in God's will, take comfort that he/she is with God now." What have we done? In our own words; we blamed God. (Original Sin)
Yes, God is omnipresent. I received a call from the parents of a young man who had been hit by an 18-wheeler and left to die on the side of I-35 in Denton, Texas. I had baptized him early that year and brought him into the membership of the UMC. He was a good man and worked hard to help support his family and go to college. It was indeed a tragedy. The parents wanted me to conduct his funeral. I spent countless hours and days struggling with what to say. How could I comfort his family and friends in just an hour? Then I remembered this story after another clergyman comment to me: "God's will is hard for us to understand, my brother." I looked at him and replied: "This was not and is not God's will." I stood before his family and friends and said: "Don't blame God for what has happened, it was not His will. How do I know? Because after the truck hit John, God was immediately there to hold him in His arms and stay with him so he would not be alone. This is God's ultimate love expressed for John. God wasn't driving the truck and because of our "free will" God didn't know what happened until it had happened. God is a great Historian, God is active in the Present but God by giving us "free will" does not know the future until it becomes the Present. In that Present moment when John lay dying, God responded. God's Spirit came upon John and held him at the time of his death. God took John to be with Him forevermore that night. This is the Love of God in Jesus Christ.
So when the baby dies, one can have assurance that God was holding this child at the time of his/her death. While it is not His will, He is at work to bring the Good out of all situations. We humans can't blame God for everything that happens on this earth. Take responsibility, pray without ceasing, love one another (including Barrack Obama and Donald Trump and those who hurt you), be kind of animals (for they are God's creatures), and do no harm to creation. The greatest is to love God because He is, not for what benefits one might receive. I still answer the question "are you saved" by saying "I hope I am and I trust God, Who is my salvation."
Thank you for reading such a long post. I hope it made you think.
Brother Bishop Liam Flint