There is a parallel saying to the title of this essay: God is in the details.
When God is in the details then he will be revealed through your attention to detail. Your sacred devotion to your work will return great rewards.
But when the devil is in the details, your lack of attention to the work in front of you will result in mistakes, and you will be disappointed in your effort.
I’m not using that phrase in the usual way.
Instead I’m going on my own path with those words.
I’m old. I get very fatigued when I hear people say things that refer to God, the Father, as one who is aware of every blink of our eyes. Making God, the Father, out to be someone who sits on his throne able to watch everything at all times at the same time.
Another thing people like to say a lot is how no one has ever met God.
Well, I have met God.
I was summoned. Not that long ago. A few years now, perhaps.
It struck me at the time as startling because here I was more than sixty years into my active relationship with him and now I was summoned. It forced me to review my life and actually see that in all those minutes of working with God I hadn’t actually met him.
My first vision was a near-death experience. I was on my way to meet him, but was stopped on my path by a beautiful pink ballerina.
The problem with this vision was that I felt God. Like being washed by a waterfall. And I did want to go on. But was gently persuaded to go back to life.
This left me with the impression that in feeling his radiance I had met him.
And growing up, I had that same impression day after day: my visions were a form of meeting God.
But here I was, being officially summoned. And feeling completely kerflummoxed.
How will this be different for me?
What will be the outcome of such a “meeting”?
I had no solid ground to stand on. No reference points.
But, after awhile, I surrendered.
And given the amount of visionary experience I had had, none of it prepared me for the meeting.
I guess the best description of it was vastness.
God, the Father, is a vast expanse with infinite flings of energy zipping all about.
And God is silent.
Could even say, frighteningly so.
I was there to receive a message. Apparently he wanted to give it to me personally, so to speak.
Or perhaps I had to prove my willingness to stand before him.
And be assessed in ways that I can never be capable of understanding.
In understanding God, however, beyond that experience I look to scripture.
I have started reading the Bible as, in part, being God’s confession. His description of his failures on Earth.
The details that get lost in the sand in the lives of people he is actively working with.
I know of what I speak.
They are there, especially in the Old Testament.
At least they glare there.
Jesus comes and tries to put it all in perspective. And gets obtuse about things from time-to-time. But, still, he never stops trying to explain God to man.
I listened to part of a lecture the other day. One of the presenters was a cancer researcher. And she was so excited she was almost jumping up and down.
A cure has been found?
No. She was thrilled to be able to talk about the “brilliance” of the cancer cell. How it “knows” enough to first make itself sick in such a way that it has the ability to make the cells around it sick also.
How did some of our cells “learn” to do such a great thing? she asked. Evolution did it.
Evolution: The process by which different kinds of living organism are believed to have developed from earlier forms during the history of the Earth.
Evolution is a process. Which is a series of steps.
So this woman was making evolution a god-like creator. Or recreator, in that evolution defines changes in already living things.
I once was a fish, but now I walk on land.
How did this happen? A series of steps happened.
What are we missing here?
Inception. A starting point. The platform from which the steps descend and go on their way.
I sit here these days with the vastly impersonal nature of God on one hand, and the raising up of nothing to be responsible for the incredibilities on Earth on the other.
There are stories after stories in the Bible of God being ham-fisted in his treatment of people.
Let’s just focus on the Israelites’ escape from Egypt.
Moses is called by God for the longest of time (and I thought I was a resistant mystic) to call the Jewish people to rise up against the powers-that-were in Egypt at that time and leave.
He even provides a number of miracles, in the form of plagues, to convince everyone concerned that He Was Serious.
So they surrender. They trust. They get to go into the desert.
And it doesn’t take long for them to start whining about their conditions.
Now imagine the scene: mothers with children, the elderly, even some disabled people in there.
Stuck in the desert.
After being promised FREEDOM!
We can all imagine what they imagined would be given to them for what they did.
And what did they get? Sand. Snakes. Rocks.
Again, just imagine: mothers giving birth, grandparents, the blind.
And what did they get? Moses and his little band of Godmen trying to explain that well, well, God is good. Really. You gotta believe us.
So they act up.
Now here’s my thought: any man who has buried a child or even just worked an unvarying job for his entire life, really, almost anyone who has suffered (which is everyone) can understand perfectly why these Israelites whined.
And danced about. And got rebellious.
We, humans, have absolutely no difficulty in grasping what was going on out there in the desert.
God, on the other hand, is enraged that they had stopped singing, A Mighty Fortress is My God.
And other exclamations of praise and thanksgiving to God.
How many years were they stuck in the desert?
Were they prepared for this ordeal?
They were just ordered. And they were obedient.
And were kicked in the face (and other places) by the experience that they met with.
God grew so angry with them, he punished them.
I did this great thing for you and you can’t even be grateful.
Where was God’s attention to the detail of their suffering?
Well, from my experience, I would say it probably was one of the bits of light zipping around, in, and through him. May be up there zipping still.
The screams. The tears. The pleadings.
And the response to all these prayers was: punishment.
Now I am the last person to assert that God can’t perform miracles. He did even with these people. Here and there.
Now and then.
Consider that. Put that on one side.
On the other consider how a bee can feed on a flower and at the same time get covered with that flower’s pollen which he takes to another flower of the same kind to eat some more and leave some of the pollen dust on his coat so that these two flowers can get it on. Even plays a bit of a drone, which must be music to these flowers ears.
All I’m saying here is: There is more to our existence than we like to admit.
We keep trying to reduce things: God, nature, ourselves even.
If we are going to honor the Lord’s Prayer, specifically the line: One Earth as it is in Heaven, if we want to bring some of that overaweing vastness down here to help us with our world, then we have to open our minds to things beyond the simple, childlike explanations that we cling to. And repeat. And repeat.