Detectives of the Divine

My daughter called me in a panic one morning.

Her car was acting weird, sliding sideways on the ice and snow, as she attempted to drive along a busy, backed up highway.  At one point she couldn’t move at all, when someone offered to push her.  Then someone else driving by noticed that her rear wheel was not turning. When she called me, I told her to pump the parking brake a couple of times to loosen it.  It was a long shot but surprisingly it worked and she was on her way again to her job.  As we chatted, she recalled that no less than four people had already helped her to get to work that day.

It felt so strange to be able to communicate over the miles and in the midst of traffic find a quick solution to her problem. This event reminded me of the way God is able to quickly respond to our emergency prayers and send help. King David prayed in the Psalms, “Lord make haste to help me.”(Psa. 70:1) It is not a good idea to always rely on emergency prayers but at the same time it is good to know God is present now and can send help in an instant. The difficulty is we are not alway aware of God in those moment of distress. Yet, it is possible to learn to be more present to the divine in midst of our fast paced life. We do not need to let hurry invade every part of our lives nor allow the tyranny of the urgent to rule us.

I recently read that bedtime stories can now be squeezed into sixty-second sound bites. Various authors have now condensed fairy tale classics for busy parents. Carl Honore writing about this in “The Praise of Slowness” says,

“ …my whole life has turned into an exercise in hurry, in packing more and more into every hour. I am a Scrooge with a stop watch, obsessed with saving every last scrap of time.”

If we are not careful hurry will fill our lives and we will miss something valuable, including the ability to enjoy the gift of life.

To see the gift within the rush of life takes attention.   All God’s gifts deserve our observation, the small as well as the large, especially in light of the giver.  I like to believe that the gift of a good neighbour who shovels my walk, or the driver who notices my daughter’s car wheel is not rotating, are displays of God’s care.

Barbara Brown Taylor in “The Preaching Life” describes how a friend’s sermon transformed her outlook. She says, “When the service was over that day, I walked out into a God-enchanted world, where I could not wait to find further clues of heaven on earth. Every leaf, every ant, every shiny rock called out to me… I became a detective of divinity, collecting evidence of God’s genius and admiring the tracks left for me to follow.

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more – a grateful heart,
Not thankful when it pleases me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.

George Herbert