There are heartaches and hurricanes in every which way these days. I have shared a table with those who are in the deepest valley; have spoken with those who are boarding up their houses in Florida, repairing generators, and storing water. Such devastation of the heart and home beg the questions: Where is God? Why don't I feel Him? Is He even here?
Anne Lamott, such a seasoned comforter, writer, lover of the most broken and busted gives us an answer. She has been at rock bottom and has seen the depths of humanity. Recently on The Beautiful Writers Podcast (I highly recommend to writers and those who love to read!) she was interviewed and asked how she reconciles questions like: Where is God when it has all fallen apart?
She didn't skip a beat: "Look at the helpers."
Anne goes on to explain (based on a Mr. Rogers quote) how she watches those who come in rescue boats, those who sacrifice their time and resources, those who help - this is how God is there. Look at the helpers who are always showing up in the middle of big and small disasters - this is God's mercy.
From Anne's assessment, we can then begin to see the helpers everywhere. We can see God at work all over the ruins of natural disaster and broken souls. The helpers are those who show up with a casserole, those who come and pray, those who sit with others in the dark and listen, those who take care of kids in the middle of crazy. The helpers are in God's image, doing God-activity, being the hands and feet of Jesus. We feel God in the hug of our neighbor, in the shared table, in the broken bread. We see Him as trucks drive down south with supplies, aide, water. We know Him when we look at the helpers.
This is beautiful as it goes both ways. We are both the helpers and the helped. I have reached out with meals, prayer, and hugs, and have been given the very same when I have been slumped on the floor, sad and alone. Paul talks about this same thing in a letter written to a church in Corinth:
So friend, if and when we are in the dark valley, and have any possible energy left (because the battle can deplete so much of us) may we lift up our head and recall the helpers in our life. Let's fight to see who has helped us, let's not forget that text, that hug, that invite, that encouragement, that prayer. We are so forgetful.
Has anyone reached out to you? Or when you have reached out, who has responded? Who has hugged you? Listened? Invited you somewhere? Given wise counsel? Showed up? Loved you with no strings attached? This is God. He is here. He is showing up with chili and cornbread. He has left donuts on your doorstep. He has heard your story and said, I see you. When you felt loved by any helper, He was loving you. He loves us and loves through us.
Thanks Anne Lamott. Let's look at the helpers.