Editor's Note: In this story, author Ronnie Muro contemplates on the presence of God in the world. How can so many see the presence of God in everything, he asks, yet so many never see God at all? For answers he turns to the Sun and the Son.
The Warmth of the Son by Ronnie Muro
Driving to work the other day, I was contemplating the presence of God in the world. Some people are never able to see God or his handiwork in the world around them. Life is all about material things and they see nothing beyond what is right in front of them. People of faith, however, can see God working in the world every day. Whether it is in the beauty of nature, the cry of a new born baby, the compassion of a friend or the strength found in prayer, God’s presence is easily felt by some.
How can this be? It is the same world and the same God, but so different to many.
As I drove along, I noticed it was a beautiful warm, sunny day. So warm, in fact, that I had the windows rolled up and the air conditioner on high. The sun was out but I couldn't really feel it. I had insulated myself from its warmth inside the car – preferring to be cool and comfortable. Perhaps that is the way it is with God for some.
God is there - just like the rays of the sun. But we can’t feel Him, because we have insulated ourselves with material things and the pleasures of the world. These make us comfortable but can’t they also prevent us from feeling God’s presence? We lock ourselves up in our homes and turn the TV on and sit in front of the cool breeze to get out of the sun. Similarly we lock our hearts up by filling our lives with worldly pleasures and it is no wonder we can’t feel the presence of God.
I thought a little more about the sun. There are times when we don't really feel the heat of the sun – winter for instance. What then can we think of God’s presence? If we can't feel God’s presence, does that mean He is not there? No more so than not feeling the sun’s rays means that the sun is not there.
It is then we have to use other senses. For the sun in the sky, we merely need to see the sun light. On a cold, wintry day the sun still shines bright enough to light up the sky. Though we can't feel its heat, it still is present to us in a very obvious way.
So it is with God. We may not feel His presence, but if we have faith, we will see that He is still there. We need to use the eyes of our soul to see that He is still present no matter the circumstances.
Ah, but what then of the dark and rainy day? Not only is there no warmth, there is no light. Rather than sunlight, the sky is filled with darkness and rain. That reminds me of times of despair – days filled with sadness, pain and depression. How can we see or feel God when our day is filled with the darkness and clouds brought on by death, illness, loneliness, broken relationships and other trying times?
Again the answer is faith. We KNOW the sun is still there behind the clouds. We never doubt that. "The sun will come out tomorrow!" But for some reason, we are quick to doubt God. When troubled times come upon us, who among us has not thought that God has abandoned us. (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)
Just as the rain falling has a purpose, so do the trials and troubles in our lives. With each rainfall new life is brought forth for plants, flowers and crops. The crops are harvested to become food and provide nourishment for those who consume them. Similarly the hard times are an opportunity for us to nourish our spirituality, to strengthen our faith. Out of the storms of our tribulations will spring forth a new and stronger child of God – one who is better able to weather the next storm.
God’s presence can be felt even in the darkest of times. For we know, without the sun, there would be no rain. And if the sun were ever to fully disappear, the earth would be completely dark and frozen over – a far cry from a rainy day. Likewise, in our times of trouble, God is still there – behind the clouds, ready to offer us the strength we need to make it through. He has not abandoned us for if He had the world would be a desolate place, one with no hope and no love. And that is not the world that I know.
Often now on my drive to work, as my mind wanders, I see the sun in the sky and think of God. Sometimes I’ll even roll the window down to feel the sun and remind myself that I can't stay inside if I want to feel the warmth of the sun. Hopefully that also reminds me to keep my mind and heart open so I can fully appreciate the presence of God in the world. And what a wonderful feeling that is – to feel the love and warmth of the Son!