Can God attend to everyone? Seriously?

Multiply that single impossibility — that the true God attends to each of us in a constant relationship. Now, factor in his monitoring and even directing the lives of everything from whales and elephants down to gnats and ameba. There is no math for that. God's magnificent presence, prescience, and power overwhelm any calculation.

He is more loving, cunning, and capable than the impossibility allows.

Image by Brian Merrill

A holy, whole, unblemished eternal life for us & our loved ones

By John Pearring

Memorial of Saint Scholastica, Virgin
I Kings 12:26-32; 13:33-34
Mark 8:1-10 

No matter how often life’s injuries trip us up — mentally, physically, and emotionally — God takes each opportunity to heal and repair us with particular attention to the details. Not just one person’s details but the nuts and bolts of everything and everybody — simultaneously. While we’re probably, and justifiably, focused on our injuries, God is focused on all of them.

In addition, our worries and angst extend to the ones we love. We’re like God in that way. We want to be with our family and friends who go through pain in both their recovery and the permanent damage. We want a holy, whole, unblemished, and eternal life for us and them.

God’s curative miracles are opportunistic and temporary because we all die eventually. When God allows us to suffer and die, he’s not absent. He’s present, purring to us, whispering for us to remain in his care even as we disintegrate. When our friends and family suffer and die, we, too, want to be present. Again, we’re like God in offering love.

Imagine, though, that God is aware and attending to our problems with an orchestration of each person plus everyone who cares for them. These interactions occur simultaneously. Billions time billions of intimate hand-holding and outright time/space changes at the same moment, over and over again. We can only extend our attention to people’s pains at a fixed range. Is our limit 100 people at a time? Maybe it’s only ten. Or two. 

We’re channeling God’s love to the ones we know, but God’s love is mind-blowing. It’s one thing to be shocked that God attends to the entire world’s yearning and pleading, but quite another to expand the task of dutifully participating in each collaboration. Misery after misery, reverberating angst circling our tiny blue planet. Moms cry out for their children. Husbands pray for their wives. Co-workers kneel for their fellow employees. 

Such a reach for any one person is impossible. God says to every pleading soul that asks for God’s help with, “I will do it.” What he does may be a healing, an ingenious work-around, or his peace-giving comfort. Yet, each (every person’s pleading) gets God’s attention.

Does God seriously attend to all of this?

“All,” in the framework of God, is exceptionally inclusive. No one is left out of God’s purview. He wants to and will deal with the 5-10 dimensions of emotions and worry for your and my complicated lives. Our similarities to God come from God. He planned our compassion to fit his own. He wants us to join him in attending to the suffering and pain of others.

Jesus’ attention upon one leper and his assurance that he does “will” to heal the man isn’t an outlier. Even in Jesus’ day, the rest of the world was not void of miracles he desired to accomplish. Certainly, today, too, God wants to heal every man, woman, and child.

His invitation to join him in caring and comforting also extends to healing. We play a part in asking God to assist us and those we love. We’re supposed to mirror what he does.

We are not petty, superficial, or self-centered as we concentrate on our problems or those close to us. Our problems are real. God’s capabilities, mission, and resources attend to the smallest details. Is this true? How can he care enough to simultaneously attend to our small circle of loved ones and everybody else? Who is this God of ours?

Such a reach, bothered with eight billion bodies and souls, seems absurd. What is truly absurd, though? God’s power and reach across the globe, or our belief that God has limits?

Multiply that single impossibility — that the true God attends to each of us in a constant relationship. Now, factor in his monitoring and even directing the lives of everything from whales and elephants down to gnats and ameba. There is no math for that. God's magnificent presence, prescience, and power overwhelm any calculation.

He is more loving, cunning, and capable than the impossibility allows.

Add to the absurdity of God’s reach by including all of creation’s lives since the beginning of time. Even if you limit God’s attention to only those currently in heaven, the astronomical extension of God fills the cosmos. Theologians do not say God ignores those who have abandoned him for hell. The final judgment has not yet taken place. OK. That’s an irrational supposition, but we believe such a God exists.

There is more on his plate. The gazillion galaxies and the smallest bits and pieces of life beyond our radar roll God’s love into further absurdities.

There is no word for the overwhelming involvement of God. Stupifying is pretty close. Indomitable, prodigious, and astounding seem close, too. Would saying all the words best describe him?

Quite a few of our friends and family find the premise of such a busy and attentive being simply too bizarre to accept. I’ve heard them say it’s creepy that God would be like that. Mostly, they say if there is a God, he’d be awful for letting us do all the bad things we do. They are not wrong. That “too bizarre” estimation forces us either stupefied (astounded, etc.) to our knees because he’s aware of the good and evil we do, or, incredulous, we toss in the towel over such a ridiculous job description. How can this loving, all-knowing, intricately and intimately engaged God exist?

We get some insight into the reality that God is like this.

The serial nature of Jesus’ life, from one setting to another, as presented by Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, follows the tracking of one man’s life. Like ours, Jesus’ days were filled with the standard odd mix of harmony and cataclysms. Lots of people are hungry, and lots of people have diseases. Then, with miraculous abandon, he feeds them and heals them. Give us a sign! So, he drops three years of signs and wonders and makes sure four biographies are written about him. They’re now digitally available to every living person on Earth. 

Jesus lived like an average Joe one minute and a famous celebrity the next. He preached to rapt audiences in synagogues and on hillsides, and he lived a scorned life, eventually crucified like a criminal. Though fabulous and amazing, his life fits into a scheme that also patterns our lives. “I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God because for this purpose I have been sent.” (LK 4:43)

He rises from the dead and leaves us his Holy Spirit to herd an organization that spans the globe. It also suffers, battered and beaten, but resurfaces and rebounds, indomitable like him. Then he tells us to be like him: “Proclaim the good news.”

The message is that God has a Kingdom that includes us. He built the universe, joined it, and brought all of it and us together into a holy Kingdom with him as the king.

We enter a new reality once we accept and no longer dismiss the awesome power of the creator and almighty God as impossible. We suffer injury almost daily, yet simultaneously, according to God’s will and timing, we get healed as a reminder of our complete and coming restoration. 

Why? Because God wants us to become like him — holy, unblemished, whole, and eternal — cured and formed from this life. The only way to ignore this incredible reality is to dismiss Jesus as God and to refuse to accept God as intensely involved in every aspect of our lives.

Or, we belong to a community that includes God and intends to draw us into a wonderful holiness and kinship of brothers and sisters with God.

No one can believe such a reality unless that reality is unmistakably true.

God orchestrates a masterful matrix of this and that, participating at every moment and in each time and space. We can’t imagine the cosmic reality, but we can project its certainty. It is the most incredible of imaginations to place Jesus, God making himself human, within the context of this creation as one of us.

Some of us will not allow God the freedom to restore the universe according to his calendar. In God’s image, we take our place in the universe too far. Do we believe the short-lived lives of people are all that hold our world together, and so we better get the world under our thumb? If we do, we miss God’s opportune interventions and only see our schedules and plans regarding conflicts and domination. We are left believing in a nefarious, random, or glitched force. Yuck and blah.

At the least, we should presume instead that our injuries and illnesses are opportunities for God to love and unite us. By doing that, our joys and jubilations when God says, “I will do it,” can reflect the constant reality that awaits us — a holy, whole, unblemished, and eternal life.

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