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God In Real Time

It’s easier to look back and see God working in our lives than it is to see it in real time. In hindsight, we can see how our struggles brought us a new awareness or strengthened us in ways we could never imagine. It’s harder to see God actually working in the moment – especially in a difficult moment. It’s hard to trust, get out of God’s way, and/or allow him to work through us. But it happens.

I recall being in a church business meeting when we were discussing change. The old guard piped up stating how they loved the church as is, and that they were comfortable. Frustrated with such inflexibility, I almost walked out. But God whispered to me, “Hang on there cowboy. This is where I do my best work.” I waited. I prayed.

Within a few minutes a new spirit blew in from a variety of scattered people in the pews. Individually what they said was good, but collectively, they put together a work of art – a work of God. God was able to cross the divide between young and old infusing us all with a spirit of love, compassion, and grace for one another. I felt it. So did many others.

Dallas Willard has a quote I’ve used a few times. He writes, Personalities united can contain more of God and sustain the force of his greater presence much better than scattered individuals.

I saw this quote play out in real time – in fellowship. Think about fellowship for a second. It’s what God has always had with the Trinity. He’s been “dancing,” to borrow Tim Keller’s term, for all eternity. Relationship is at the core. God didn’t need us. He created us to join in his dance.

And what a dance it is! It can be related to a great sports team that all play their individual parts for the whole of the team. It’s amazing to see a football team move a ball down the field – it’s a dance. Or it’s like a great team in the workplace. You have tech guys, number crunchers, business guys, visionaries – they all work together to drive things forward.

But when things get tough, or they’re not going how we think they should, we often resort to our own design. Rather than riding through the uncomfortable, we head for the door. God is not uncomfortable. He will deliver even when we doubt, as long as we stick with him and trust – even just a little bit – and even in the mundane.

Thanks for reading,
– Ted Olson


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