I often hear people say, more or less, “If God would only [insert your miracle here] then I would believe he exists.” I’m less convinced each year that such a spectacular event would be of much help. What people want is not certainty that God exists, but that God is present. What people need is not philosophical or scientifically demonstrable proof of God’s existence, but God’s presence.
Frederick Buechner tells the story of a God who writes in the skies, “I REALLY EXIST” or “GOD IS.” All the world sees this and are amazed. It’s inhabitants respond in a variety of ways. God continues to rewrite his message in different languages and with different colors an sounds. Then, one day, and ordinary child looks up and asks the simple question, “So what? What difference does it make that God exists?”
We all want to be certain, we all want proof, but the kind of proof we tend to want – scientifically or philosophically demonstrable proof that would silence all doubts once and for all – would not in the long run, I think, answer the fearful depths of our needs at all. For what we need to know, of course, is not just that God exists, not just that beyond the steely brightness of the stars there is cosmic intelligence of some kind that keeps the whole show going, but that there is a God right here in the thick of our day-by-day lives who may not be writing messages about himself in the stars but who in one way or another is trying to get messages through our blindness as we move around down here knee-deep in the fragrant muck and misery and marvel of the world. It is not objective proof of God’s existence that we want but, wether we use religious language for it or not, the experience of God’s presence. That is the miracle we are really after. And that is also, I think, the miracle that we really get. (Message in the Stars)
This week, instead of looking for signs and wonders, look for the God who became flesh and blood and dwelled among us through that still, small voice that longs to reach you.