man in hospitalI’ve been a hospital chaplain and eucharistic minister and I’ve met patients in different spiritual places. They have different beliefs and faith traditions, all which can be a challenge to a minister who has his own personal beliefs. But often those people taught me a lot about what I believed and how I saw God.

I recently had a dream that I visited a patient in hospital on my Catholic list. I went to pray with him and at first he gave a reluctant okay to prayer. Perhaps he was just a non-practising Catholic who felt obliged to say yes, I thought. After praying for God’s presence and blessing upon the man he told me that those were nice words but that he didn’t believe in God. He was an atheist. He could not see a hint of God around him in that hospital room, in his illness, or anywhere for that matter. Several of his family members were gathered around, quietly listening.

Typically, a chaplain might ask the patient open-ended questions to explore their feelings in the context of their beliefs and illness. The chaplain is not there to impose his or her beliefs on the patient. But in my dream I told the man that I could see God all around him. I could see God in his family gathered around him, in the gift of medicine, in our very conversation. I realised that for me, I would have to look very hard not to find God. God’s presence dwells in everything. God gives life and being and existence to everything, so finding God in all things is just a matter of opening your eyes!

Perhaps you find this over-simplistic, but consider where you are right now, this place you’ve been given as shelter, the breakfast you had this morning. Notice your breath, the blinking of your eyes, your ability to read this. Consider the brain power you have which has given you reason to make decisions that have lead you up to this moment in your life. As you scroll this page notice the miracle of your fingers and the tiny muscle movements that make it happen. Consider the hundreds of processes going on inside of you. Who do you most care about? What are you good at? What are your talents?
God has given this all to you. God sustains all of this in existence. God is the life-giving Source. This truth does not negate suffering, but enriches it with a greater awareness of the goodness within it. This is finding God in all things.

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Music by Kevin MacLeod