During my summer chaplain internship several years ago, I met a patient who had became paralyzed as a young adult. She was a patient at the hospital several times during that summer. Each time I tried to visit she would immediately turned me away.
On my last visit with her, shortly before my internship ended, she asked me to say a prayer for her. Even though it was in the middle of the day, the blinds were shut and the lights were off, so the room was completely dark except for the light coming from the hallway through the open door that I keep ajar so I could see enough to walk to her bedside.
After I prayed, I felt that she wanted me to leave. As I was about to leave the room, she asked in a loud voice: “How do you know that God actually exist?”
I replied: “Because I have felt God’s presence in my life.”
“I think people make God up to just to make people worry less about death. Why am I in all this pain then?” she asked.
“I do not know why this is happening to you, but it is not by God.”
Our conversation continued and I talked about believing in God while having a speech impediment. I explained that my theology doesn’t believe that God caused pain as an act of revenge, but also I don’t know when God does not prevent pain.
I remember feeling that amid all of the pain and sorrow in the room that I did believed God was with us that day.
Last Sunday at First Friends Meeting, we looked at the passage of Matthew 1:23: “’Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,’ which means, ‘God is with us.’”
During this Advent season, I have been remembering again that God is with us indeed. Even in the midst of all the violence, terrorism, and so much misery happening in the world, God is still with us.