Our God

by gary-foote on April 3, 2011

Every so often I come across a song that has a great impact on my life and the way I work in Catholic youth ministry. Nearly a year ago I was speaking at a Catholic youth conference where the band played a song by Chris Tomlin called “Our God.” The song is fairly simple, both lyrically and musically. The first verse starts by talking about two of the miracles Jesus performed in His public ministry: The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11) and the Healing of the Blind (there are several accounts of this type of miracle, one of my favorites is in John 9:1-41). The lyrics go like this, “Water You turned into wine. Open the eyes of the blind. There’s no one like You. None like You.”

As I listened and prayed by singing the song I was struck by the reality that Jesus actually did these things (and many more). Now I knew that He had performed these miracles, and these Sacred Scripture passages had had an impact on me before, but at this particular conference the impact was different. It was a bit of a reality check for me. I think that often times in life and ministry we can forget that what seems impossible and miraculous for us is a common occurrence for God. Jesus never expressed any doubt or concerns about His “proposed miracles” not going the way He wanted them to. He was completely confident knowing that He is God and that everything in creation is under His authority.

Unfortunately, I lose sight of this at times because unlike Jesus, failure has been in my life. I can become so afraid of failure that it leads me to not fully trust in the power of God to accomplish what seems to me as the impossible. The difference between failures and miracles happening in my life is God’s will. If God wills something and if I’m radically open to Him working through me, than miracles can happen. But, if I want something for my own sake and it is not God’s will, than there’s a good chance that it might not happen. That doesn’t necessarily mean that what I want or am working towards is bad or wrong. It just means that the direction and timing of how I think something should happen might not be the best plan. God can work in our “failures” and produce miracles of growth for the sake of our own spiritual development or those that we are blessed to minister to.

So how do we know what is God’s will from our own will? Great question! If you ever find a fail proof method please let me know and I will be eternally grateful to you. What I do know is that we cannot know God’s will for us without prayer. If we do not take the time to have a conversation with God than it’s nearly impossible to know His will. As a practical pointer, remember that conversation is a two way street of talking and listening. In prayer, we too need to talk and listen. The first public miracle Jesus performed recorded in Sacred Scripture is the Wedding at Cana. This is a really unique miracle in that Jesus’ mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the one who asked Him to perform the miracle. We have an incredible advocate in the Blessed Mother who can help us do the will of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit if like Jesus we will listen to her direction.  I’ve  also found a lot of help in understanding God’s will through the use of the Ignatian rules of discernment. In addition I meet at least once a month with my spiritual director to talk about the different promptings I have felt and seek his wisdom and guidance in discerning what I should pursue and what I should not. This all may seem like a lot of work, but I can honestly say that the time I devote to prayer and discernment is some of the time that I enjoy most in my life.

Ultimately, what I am trying to share in this blog is simple. God works miracles! God still wants to work miracles today. The question is, will we let Him? The blind man in John 9 had some work to do. Jesus spat on the ground, made some clay, rubbed it on the man’s face, and gave him explicit instructions of what to do next. The blind man could have responded saying, “What the heck are you doing mister? You just rubbed dirt on a blind man’s face!” But instead, he listed to Jesus, trusted Him, did what He was told, and a miracle happened. Like the blind man, we might not always understand the process of why God is doing something a certain way, but we are still called to trust. Though this trust, miracles can happen.

Know that no obstacle is too difficult for God to overcome (He conquered death so I think He’s got things under control). Don’t lose heart. More importantly, don’t lose trust in God’s ability to work miracles. Look for the miracles that God is working through your failures. Turn to the Saints and our Blessed Mother for guidance in following God’s will. And most important, pray, pray, and pray some more.

God Bless you in all that you do,

Gary Foote

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sharon Riker April 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Gary, I so needed to read your words today. Thank you for your guidance and thoughts.
God Bless You – Sharon

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