Day 27: God is Present

God is present

BY MAKA BLACK ELK | March 28, 2022
Today’s Readings

We encounter grave injustices in our lives. This can be truly disheartening to many who would look toward the goodness of God and think, “How can a just and good God allow this terrible wrong to happen?” This is a question that I have often faced in my own work in my Indigenous community. 

Whether it is an individual struggling to come to terms with personal tragedy in their lives or whole communities facing the difficult reality of oppressive systems—it is easy to see why anyone would question where God is in that situation. In our own community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, we’re grappling with our history as an Indian boarding school, one which, like hundreds of others, sought to rid Indigenous children of their culture and language. The boarding schools across the country were one part of a system that allowed for great injustices to occur against children already so vulnerable and away from their homes and families. Where was God in all of this?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says to a man seeking healing for his ill son, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” It is a reminder for us that we cannot always expect miracles to know God’s presence. He challenges us to believe even when the signs and wonders do not appear. And yet, where do we find God in the depths of our darkest experiences? Especially of injustice when a miracle feels like the only way out?

I have felt the greatest strength in recognizing that it is my own anger against injustice where God is showing Himself. Our desire to see wrongs righted, our yearning for good to come amidst tragedy—these are the ways in which God reminds us that He is near. God is in our desire for reconciliation and in our calls for justice. God is present in the doubt felt by the perpetrators of harm and He is behind us when we push for our humanity.  It is easy to forget that in its own way, these are the signs and wonders we’ve been waiting for all along.

For Reflection:

  • Reflect upon a way in which you find God in the depths of darkness, or in the face of grave injustice. In what ways might you be missing the “signs and wonders we’ve been waiting for?”

6 replies
  1. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    The kind of ‘bumps in the road’ I’ve experienced have been both horrid and life giving. They have been life giving in regard to being in the presence of God as they happened. God is always with me at tough times. He is my guide and my salvation as I pass through the darkness of times either completing a dotorate when my sons were young, and I was studying at night from 1:00 to 5:00am. It is the way it needed to be done. I often prayed that I would make it through the next day. When my husband passed away shortly after receiving my doctorate, I realized that this was a gift from God so I could support my sons through University, teaching at the same time I could spend time thinking about loving and serving them. My sons are now employed as an attorney, a university professor and a person in charge of a township. They are happy and have children. I do feel that the Lord was always present to me and continues to do so as I reach the age of wisdom. I’ve had the ability to help students by being with them and guiding them to know God deeper. If I didn’t have these ‘bumps in the road’ there might have been different decisions made but I think/feel/pray not – Father, Son and Holy Spirit are friends of mine that are continually with me as Father, friend and guide.

    Reply
  2. Frances D'Amato
    Frances D'Amato says:

    Yes As I watch the strength of the Ukrainians as they watch buildings, supply centers, hospitals and schools boomed I pray for the conversion of Putin.
    With each evil deed more people become aware that greed and power have little place in a loving world.
    Perhaps we will all see that non acceptance of others leads to our own losses. Please God teach us how to accept each other as we are!

    Reply
  3. Federico Roncarolo
    Federico Roncarolo says:

    Today the Pope in Rome started meeting the delegation from Indigenous people from Canada. He started with Metis today and it end up with a general Audience on Friday. Survivors of residential school talked with him as well of Elders and Community representatives. They asked the Pope to join them in their path of Reconciliation and Healing. He told them that he took Truth, Justice and Healing as his personal responsibility, but no apologies yet. I pray for a real path of Reconciliation and Healing, not just formal.

    Reply
  4. Michelle Knight
    Michelle Knight says:

    Thank you for this amazing reflection. Your last paragraph, about our own anger and thirst for justice being signs of God, gives me so much hope. I have not thought in this way before. it will sustain me in the future!

    Reply
  5. sonja
    sonja says:

    In times of personal trial, my question has been, “How can I use this experience to help others?” I also believe that in the end truth will prevail. It is comforting to know that perpetrators remember every act of their crimes, which continue to plague their conscience till death. That is sufficient punishment from a loving and just God. Their victims often forget what happened, until such time as God gives them the courage to face the truth, fight for justice and bring healing to all.

    Reply

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