I know it more certainly than I know what my hand looks like: God exists.
I can not tell you how I know. I just know that there is a spark of something in the world that is the ultimate Other, that I recognize as separate and apart from its creation. I feel the Other in the wind as it blows my hair; I see this Other as a spark in the eye of both animals and people; I sense It in the breath of the newborn.
I recognized It when I saw, on the latest episode of The Story of God With Morgan Freeman, a Buddhist monk elevate himself feet into the air — from a seated position on the ground, legs crossed. As I watched him harness this strange energy, I remembered Jesus, and thought, He must have done this same thing — harnessed that same energy somehow, to heal, to walk on water, to rise up from the dead.
This next episode of The Story of God airs on NatGeo on Monday, January 30th. Titled “Proof of God”, it explores the different ways God demonstrates a presence in people’s lives. One of the things that was clear from the episode: when you go looking for God, God shows up. Sujo John prayed as one of the towers fell around him on 9/11, and God showed up. Physicist Ard Louis discovers God in relationships. And the Muslim calligraphist finds God in the craft of his art.
I find God in the stories I have collected over the years — both my own, and other people’s. Stories like the three-year-old who fell out of a window and landed, unharmed, three stories down. The paramedics wanted to know how she hit the ground to assess her possible injuries: face up? Face down? On her side? So her mom — one of my oldest friends — asked her: ‘What did you see when you fell?”
The lady with the wings, said her daughter.
The lady with the wings.
God’s voice comes to me in quiet moments. Sometimes it’s the tiny whisper that a friend is calling one minute before my phone rings (this happens to me all the time). Sometimes it’s a command to act. Sometimes it’s just a love note: I’m glad you’re paying attention.
I may not be able to explain it. But when you experience it for yourself, you’ll instantly know what I mean. You won’t be able to explain it either, but we’ll look each other in the eye, notice each other’s spark, and remember where we come from.
Can we actually prove God, though? Or does the very existence of God demand faith? Back in the garden, that darn tree of knowledge set us all into a life of missing the mark with God, and it’s because we had more knowledge and less know how, too much understanding, but not enough wisdom. With that knowledge, we were now powerful enough to mess up the whole world, and mess it up we did.
And so we get God in tiny little remembrances, memories of the way things were supposed to be. It’s like they are imprinted on our souls, and in our rituals and activities and the way we seek God are tiny pieces of a big puzzle. We get God-snippets, tiny little moments of the divine. Sometimes they are external forces and others, they come from our deepest, most intimate created space.
That’s the place, I think, we’re all trying to get back to — that place where God’s Holy Spirit pulses with Her spark of the sacred. As Ard Louis says, and I paraphrase, the better we get to know God, the more our faith grows.
And the more our faith grows, the more, I think, we remember.
Be sure to check out The Story of God With Morgan Freeman this Monday, Jan 30th, on National Geographic.