Where Are You God?

It was a frosty start this morning as we arose to face a dark and dreary Tuesday. The car thermometer informed us it was below freezing as Fionnuala drove me out to the train station for my daily commute to Belfast. Ahead of us was another busy day. The weekend seems a long way off, and tends to be even busier than the week itself. The Christmas break can’t come quick enough.

My local train station in the morning resembles the American evacuation of Hanoi. Utter chaos. Woefully inadequate car parking facilities mean vehicles are abandoned on the road, as school children and office workers converge on the tiny stop. The mighty minds at Northern Ireland Translink have also cut the number of carriages, meaning getting a seat is nigh on impossible.

We cram onto the train, jostling for position and breathing space. I’m convinced I will be asked one of these days to sit on the roof, more akin to Mumbai than Moira. Everyone looks suitably miserable on the journey into Belfast, the majority with their noses buried in their phones or other electronic devices. Eye contact is kept to a minimum and Heaven forbid you attempt to strike up a conversation.

When we arrive in Belfast, it’s a stampede onto the platform and every man and woman for themselves in the dash for the barriers. Where sour faced staff await us, begrudgingly inspecting our tickets before allowing us through and onto the hustle and bustle of the city centre and beyond. Despite the lights being up, I don’t think the festive spirit has gripped the city yet. I’m not sure if it ever will.

The walk to the office is equally grim. It’s as if the number of homeless people in Belfast multiplies by the day. They huddle in doorways and shopfronts, cocooned in blankets, but still shivering against the biting cold. I walk past and onwards to my warm office, where petty office political wrangles await. Want to fully expose yourself to the lowest human qualities? Greed, arrogance, deceit? Work in an open plan office for a year.

It’s at times like this I ask, where is God? For I don’t see him on my daily commute. Instead, I see a world I’m not particularly proud to be a part of, a world that seems to be spiralling out of control. God has been very quiet in our lives of late. Hopes have been dashed, prayers gone unanswered, and obstacles loom up in every direction to frustrate and restrict us. I still believe in God, but I do wonder at times. Where are you?

Then, Fionnuala pointed out the sky to me this morning. She was looking up, whereas I was glumly staring ahead. That sums up the two of us quite well. The photo below doesn’t do justice to the majestic orange and purple hue, framing a crescent moon, kept company by a lone star, blazing brilliantly over the gloomy earth below. I wonder if the Wise Men looked upon a similar sight as they journeyed to Bethlehem.

The sight gave me hope. Hope that there are better times, and that God has better plans ahead for us. It certainly doesn’t feel that way, at present, but I guess that is what faith is all about. Without hope, we are lost. We need to believe in something, otherwise life is pointless. We need guidance. A single star in a chilly morning sky might not be much. But for me, today, it was enough.

What do you believe in?

48 thoughts on “Where Are You God?

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  1. Oh that’s lovely … an antidote to the grim dark morning. I would however like to point out that when your book is published, there has been a fight over the film rights things will have changed quite substantially. You will be living in the glorious sunshine of The Hamptons, whilst occasionally visiting New York to have champagne and ice cream with your publisher and you will have to delve deep into the grey matter to recall the damp, dreary weather of Belfast. Of course, us mere mortals will remind you of this from time to time … as we stand in the queue for your book signing. 😃😃 This too shall pass. It is just the beginning. ☀️☀️

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  2. Stephen, this is a VERY moving post. When I read about those poor homeless ones shivering, it made me cry, and feel hopeless too. I read on, and saw your conclusion which was lovely.

    But I wanted to say that God is staring at you in the faces of those heomeless people. I know that you are one to talk to them, to give them something, and that you do not ignore them. You are not innured to their suffering. And when you give to them you are giving it to Jesus, for Jesus is in them. And I know that you know that anyway.

    But I DO understand your question. I too have had that question, and much more of late. I could tell you more of my story, but this is your post and I don’t want to go on too much. But yes, I have lost hope MANY times. And as I write this morning I am in deep emotional pain. But ultimately, as you say, we HAVE to believe in something. And like you, I do. And we know that even Jesus on the Cross doubted God. In His cry of utter abandonment. But straight after that He commended His spirit into God’s hands. And that is what WE do. I SO understand your question Stephen. I too have cried it out from my bed. Nothing is working for us either. We are barred, every which way we turn, and there is no help for us. We are even outcasts from our church. Made so by the priest. And we are alone. But I too look at the sky, and despite my blindness that is one thing that I can still see. Sometimes life see s impossible, and we are denied even the bare necessities. It does not make sense. But we WILL ultimately come forth as pure gold. Tested in the fires. We walk together through the fires Stephen. I hold out my hand to you. And let others join us too. We will ALL walk together.

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      1. Stephen you just made me cry. Thankyou SO much. I hope and pray that this is so. I often wonder what He is REALLY like. Thankyou so much for your Blessings. May your family be Blessed too. And all the homeless and those down on their luck. Thankyou so much for what you have said ablut my poems. Bless you

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  3. Finnuala’s right of course. I find comfort in the sky as well.

    I often find the face of Jesus in the faces of the homeless riding the subways or hanging out in various places when I am out & about … I often think that if Jesus was walking among us nowadays, that’s where he would be. On the streets, on the busses & subways, with the homeless & with the those who really need him.

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  4. It is hard to see God in society because most people have shut Him out. He’s shut out of their lives, schools, and politics. Most people turn to God when things are bad and then ask “Why?”.
    There is hope like the sunrise you saw. One day there will be no more suffering, pain, sickness, or death.

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  5. Coffee. I find hope in coffee. Seriously tho, I personally do not believe in a puppet master dealing out good and bad. Life is what life is and it is how we choose to respond. Sometimes we don’t even have a choice or it is minimal. I hope things become less burdensome this week.

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  6. I saw that view this AM when I got up to go to work. For a few seconds the cares of this world faded away, and I just stood in the frosty Colorado cold, admiring a work of art carefully arranged just for me. I think part of our problem these days is we’ve gotten so used to looking down at our phones, or at the ground, or into ourselves, that we forget to look up and enjoy the incredible tapestry God is weaving around.

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  7. This reminds me of the times when I rode the subway in New York. Cramped and heads looking down. Glad I drive to work now. 🙂 As for what I believe in. I believe God is everywhere. God is among those in the train and as you walk past the homeless. He’s everywhere.

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  8. Beautifully written post, as always, Stephen. And the question “Where is God?” is running through many people’s minds these days. However, just the fact that you pay any attention to the homeless population in Belfast tells me that you probably know exactly where God is. Just this morning, I read this: Jesus spent much of his ministry on earth trying to get close to the people that we try to get away from. Makes that walk through the streets look a whole lot different. Thanks again for the great post!

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  9. The sky you describe would fall into the category of what my daughter once called “God’s smiles” – a little wave he extends to remind us he’s there and he’s still on the throne. Merry Christmas. Nice to meet you both. Smiles 🙂

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  10. “It certainly doesn’t feel that way, at present, but I guess that is what faith is all about. Without hope, we are lost.” I can relate to this sentiment very deeply right now. Just trusting that it WILL get better.

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  11. I believe His hand and His creation is all around, but whether or not we all as an individual reflect that, well, our walk with Him is on us to start and continue. It’s true, it’s evident the majority demand with greed everything we want to have but not necessarily take the time to show and give to others.

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