Where is God in times of trouble?

The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”

John 6:18-20

Dear members and friends,

In my twenties, I felt that I had become or was surely becoming an atheist. Both God taught by Christianity and Heaven as the Divine taught by my ancestors were losing my respect. I spent countless days and months in prayers, but all I felt was a terrifying emptiness. So I thought, “there is nothing.” In a way, it was alright, because perhaps it is a good thing that there is nothing beyond or above the reality we are living in. But at the same time, it was not alright, because if I am living in a world that is completely governed by chances, then is there a real purpose to being and living? I entertained this thought for a while whenever I was meditating. But then one day I realized the truth: I was looking for God or Heaven where the Divine could not have been present! I had been doing nothing but shouting out my anger and hatred, but of course these feelings are incompatible with the Divine. Further, God would not come to where I was calling because I need to spiritually transcend to meet God’s presence. 

The short story in John 6 is particularly inspiring to me, because in a way this story illustrates how I found my way to God. My life could be described as a boat sailing through darkness while a storm was rising upon me. When God reached out to guide me, I was terrified just like the disciples were terrified by seeing Jesus walking on water. The reason for the terror was because of my own inner conflict; I was searching for certainty in my material reality rather than the spiritual realm. As the Bible insists many times, God is spirit, and thus God’s presence can only be perceived fully in spirit. 

My brothers and sisters in God, let us take a good moment of meditation this week. Let us first celebrate the birth of our country. Then, let us take a moment of reflection on how close or far away we are from entering into the presence of the Divine. 

 Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee