God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
Throughout the Bible we are told not to fear. God is always present around us and within us, no matter what we are going through, no matter where we are. Many of us believe, and have been taught, that God is like a great big man, someone like the movies about Zeus; someone, a person, who will interact with His children. Many religions teaching that God relates to us in a physical manner, removes obstacles, vanquish our enemies, and physically manipulates our environments.
In a sense, this is similar to what the early followers of Christ hoped for as they watched him ride his donkey into Jerusalem. They perceived him as the king who would right the wrongs of their current day, and rescue them from Roman oppression, conquer their enemies, and free them from enslavement.
Obviously, these beliefs were not accurate then, as they are not accurate today. “God is Spirit,” we are told in John 4:24 – “and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” God is not a physical being, but a spiritual being; the Divine One does not interact with the world and His children physically, but spiritually.
For many, this is a devastating blow, because we really like the idea that God manipulates the world to our advantage, a god with skin on him. But God is not a genie, there is no magic involved. God is not going to send tornadoes and hurricanes to teach lessons to people who don’t think the way we do, or the way we want them to behave. If we are going to connect with Christ, with God, and with Spirit, it will be at a spiritual level.
God does not, and literally cannot, interfere with our physical world. At this point, I know that many people would think, then what good is God? If He is not going to give me what I want, why should I spend time working on faith, spending time in prayer, or speaking with God at all? My answer would be: because a spiritual God is more powerful, more potent, more accessible, more helpful than a physical God could ever be. God as Spirit does break the chains of enslavement, conquer our enemies, raise us above oppression and all other of the world’s harms, and it is done at the spiritual level. We are healed, strengthened, comforted, and protected spiritually. This was one of Christ’s primary lessons – nothing in this world can harm us when we are attuned to the presence and power of God.
A physical God would love us, but we are told that God is love. Not only does God love us, but God is that very quality. God is Love. When we experience love at any degree, we encounter a direct connection with God. When we love someone or something in any fashion, and by this I mean, opening a door, showing compassion, holding a kind thought, allowing someone to speak their mind, showing appreciation, approval, respect, or acceptance - all of this is a form of love, and when we love in any manner we complete the connection and spread the essence of Love to others and back into Creation.
Most definitely, our spiritual faith impacts our physical circumstances. Prayer creates the opportunity for physical change. Positive thoughts and envisioning aid in creating positive situations. Prayer, thought, and envisioning change us and the things around us. The physical universe responds to the spiritual flow and the presence of God within us. We have the divine power of God to use in our own lives. Our thoughts, words, prayers, and actions are causative; they have an energy of their own that generate results. The changes that we encounter begin at the spiritual level, and not from a god manipulating the physical world on our behalf.
When we rely on God to physically change the things in our lives to what we want, we are setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment. Our ego may begin screaming that God doesn’t exist because God has not answered our prayers. We are falsely expecting God to corporeally alter things.
Instead, we can connect to Spirit and trust God. I have no idea why the timing of someone we love releasing their body is the way it is. I know logically, that we all must drop these bodies, and the timing is in God’s hands. I don’t like it when someone I love leaves the physical plane, but I also know that who they truly are lives on and reunites with our Creator in a more personal way once again. But why? I don’t know. I can imagine reasons: they are in deep physical pain and releasing the body alleviates that pain, or the body has just reached its unique expiration date, or they have learned their intended lessons and can move on to greater spiritual lessons. Maybe they were here to help someone else in their lessons. A baby dies at birth. Why? I don’t know. I can only believe that there must have been something in that brief experience that was necessary for their spiritual development or the development of someone else, or both. God is not killing us or punishing us or our loved ones. I just don’t think that God sees the death of the body the same way we see it. We see it as an ending, as something bad; I think God sees it as a homecoming, a reuniting, a regeneration.
As human beings, we often allow the world to cause us to fear. There have always been disagreements, tragedies, wars, and apocalypses, as long as humans have been on earth. Long before humans evolved there have been fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornados, and other disasters. As humans, we continue to fear these events, and our egos want to blame it all on God.
It is our intentional evil, hurtful and unproductive choices, actions, and thoughts that draw to us more of that darkness, and our loving, productive, and positive choices attract those qualities. This is a spiritual law, a principle that exists on the spiritual level. There are also physical laws of action and reaction and other ‘if-then’ scenarios. I drink too much and drive off a cliff in a drunken stupor. Well, there’s not much too spiritual about that.
The point is that spiritual laws and physical laws run our universe. If I push my child in a swing and it comes back and knocks me down, well, I am not paying attention, or I haven’t been on earth for very long. If I spend my youth trying to get a tan, lying out in the sun for years, and then develop skin cancer … look, it’s not God punishing me. Action-reaction on the physical plane. If I constantly think bad things are going to happen to me, and they do … action-reaction on the spiritual plane.
Where do we stand in all of this – on the side of ego or Christ, productive or nonproductive, serving and giving or taking and withholding? Is it all about ‘me’, or is it all about ‘us’? Do we align with the World or with Spirit? Are we attuned to God or mammon?
Throughout the spectrum of experiences that we enjoy - and dread - while in these bodies, God has only one request, “Stand by me.” God wants from us a spiritual connection. In Psalm 46, just a few verses after the ones that I read, God gives us this recommendation for overcoming our fears: “Be still, and know that I am God!” God wants us to embrace a spiritual union and stand firm in that relationship. God stands with us, and He wants us to stand with Him. He wants us to stand together.
God asks us to stand with Him, in the knowledge that nothing in this physical world can ultimately harm us without our willingness to be hurt. This is what Jesus Christ demonstrated on the cross. Our greatest demonstration of faith and overcoming fear, disappointment, and doubt is to say, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” This is an attitude of complete commitment to God. In our living, in our dying, in losing loved ones and loving our lost ones, in our uncertainties and questions, in our grief, doubts, and fears, in our exultation, celebrations, and victories, whatever we are, whatever we have, whatever we experience, whatever our gifts, we can place it all into the hands of our beloved Creator. When we do this, nothing in the world can touch our souls.
And like our commitment to God, our loving Christ stands by us. Just as God calls out to us, our souls call out to God, “Stand by me,” and so He does. No matter what, no matter where, Spirit surrounds us. It is this spiritual relationship that provides the strength to reach out to others in their times of challenge and stand by them. It is this connection that enables us to believe the spiritual truth: With God, all things are possible.
So, it is my prayer that we will stand by God, just as God stands by each one of us. I pray that we will stand by all who are hungry, all who are sick, all who are poor, who feel left out, who feel anxious, who grieve, who feel weary, who doubt, who are in trouble, who are broken and alone, just as firmly as God stands by us. I pray that we will hold each other in the Light and Love of God, and despite our uncertainties, trust that the spiritual workings of Divinity are unfolding in the right and perfect fashion for everyone involved.