...Always at Work

"God is always at work.”

That sentence is the Rosetta Stone for me between the Baptists and the Jesuits, between Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God and Ignatius of Loyola's 14 Rules for Discernment of Spirits (as well as much other Ignatian/Jesuit theology).

The first reality of the Bible study "Experiencing God" states, "God is always at work around you.” Later in the study, Blackaby discusses how when you see God at work, that in itself is an invitation for you to join Him.  Your ability to see how and where God is at work in the world is not a matter of you, the observer, being at the right place at the right time, witnessing something by accident. God reveals His work to you, and thereby invites you to join Him.

In an article on the British Jesuit site, Thinking Faith, the author says, "the story of the Tower of Babel might have a good deal to say in our multi-cultural society about the ‘common good’, which is sometimes attained despite our bad decisions and misguided choices; God is always at work to make things better, even when we pursue our own selfish interests. The trick for us is to see where the divine invitation is beckoning us, today.”

You remember the classic drawing that could, if you looked at it one way, be an old woman, or looked at another way, could be a beautiful young woman?  That image comes to mind when I think about how to look for God working around me, and in the world at large.  I have some sympathy towards those who look around them and at the world and see nothing of God.  Instead of elegance and beauty in the drawing, they only see the old and ugly.

But the very same life, the very same world, looked at through the very same eyes, can be interpreted 180 degrees in the other direction.  With different assumptions about what “should” be, we can realize just how amazingly, endlessly active God is today. I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, where she learns joy, learns to see God's work, from practicing gratitude for all that she sees around her, the ugly and the beautiful.  And she is not alone in the centuries of Christian doctrine and practice: gratitude is at the center of opening your eyes to see God’s work in the world.

There is remarkable agreement among the various branches of Christianity that God is always, even now, at work.  There is also agreement about the powerful, central role that continual thankfulness plays in tuning our eyes to see the divine work, and through that looking for the ways we might join Him in His beautiful, joyful work.  You probably won't see any burning bushes today, but perhaps, by practicing thankfulness, and keeping your eyes open, you might catch a glimpse of God's next invitation for you to join Him.