YOUR GOD IS TOO SMALL
“Seek The Lord While He May Be Found” [Isaiah 42]
In Father James Martin’s novel The Abbey, Anne is a 40-year-single parent whose life is shattered when her 13-year-old son is struck and killed by a car. Three years later, Anne is still mired in grief.
Anne strikes up a friendship with Father Paul, the abbot of a nearby Trappist monastery. He lets Anne vent her anger at God for taking her son from her. Over several conversations, Father Paul, with compassion and without judgment, helps Anne confront her grief by realizing the narrowness of her images of God.
At one of their meetings, Father Paul asks Anne when she last felt some measure of peace. She replies that she feels happiest when working in her garden. “Strange,” she said, “It felt like God was patting down the soil around me, sort of. Does that sound insane?”
A gentle smile comes to Father Paul’s face and he says, “Not at all! It sounds beautiful. Can you let that image of God as the gardener who tends you like a flower be your image of God for now? That image may be a gift from God. There are lots of images of God and I think God has just given you a new one.”
All of us have faced similar feelings of doubt and emptiness. We struggle to move beyond brokenness and disappointment. As Father Paul helps Anne see God in new ways, she begins a new relationship with God. The Jesus of the Gospels, who seeks reconciliation with us always, who shows compassion without end, and who makes his presence known in every act of kindness, challenges our narrow and incomplete images of God. Your image of God may be too small! In this new year, God may be offering you some new images. If so, use them to better know God.