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Finding God in the real-life stories of others

Light for the Way seriesWe invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.

By Chaplain Steve Richards, Optage Hospice 

"My Father’s house has many rooms…" — John 14:2a

One of my theological presumptions is that God is everywhere; there is no place where God is not. I take that to be not only a logical outcome of the belief that God is infinite — as infinity has no boundaries — but also something grounded in Scripture. For example, the Psalmist writes, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there” (Psalm 139:7-8). Unsurprisingly, we find the same thing said about Jesus. For example, in Paul’s letter to the Colossians he writes that “Christ is all, and is in all,” and that through him all divisions are overcome and all boundaries set aside (3:11).

What would it look like to live in a world where we see, hear and experience God everywhere? 

When I reflect on my spiritual journey I know that many times I have operated under the (false) assumption that God is only present when I show up, or only speaking when I speak. Jesus says that he is the way to God, but I know that sometimes I have thought of myself as the way, and my spiritual truth as the means by which people can come to know and connect with God. The fact is, I am not the way. I am never the way. Jesus is the way.

I’ve been meditating recently on the idea that God’s house has many rooms in it.

In my work as a hospice chaplain I get to go into many rooms. Often, before I go in, I stand at the door nervously wondering what I am going to say or do. Sometimes I have prepared a scripture I want to share, or a devotional reading. In these moments I come ready to bring God into someone’s life.

Light for the WayBut the truth is, behind every door I knock on God is already present. 

In fact, God is already there in any room, living area, kitchen, office, or cubicle I go into on any campus or corporate building at PHS. God does not only show up when I show up, nor only speak when I speak. God is already there. Already speaking and working. God is already with people. More than that, God has been with people for many years prior to me showing up. 

So in light of these reflections I’ve started to become curious. I’ve started looking for where God is showing up in the lives of my clients. For example, recently I asked one of my clients if they ever saw Jesus. “Oh yes!” they replied. “What does he look like?” I inquired. They responded, “I don’t know. He is many things.” That really caught my attention: yes, Jesus. You are many things. You are indeed many things to me.

As you go throughout your day, each person you encounter is someone God is already present with. They are those in whose lives God has worked, and is still working. There is no time when anyone’s life has been lived without God in it.

As such, my invitation to you is this: Become curious.

What has God been doing in the lives of those we serve and those we serve alongside? Where has God been showing up? Where is God continuing to show up?

And rather than hear these words and let them pass by, my challenge is to begin actively seeking opportunities to pause for a few moments to ask someone, “Where is God showing up for you today?” And as you listen, notice what catches your attention and then later on, think about why.

What new thing might God be wanting you to hear through this person?

Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20). In this world we are called to be like Jesus, so the invitation is to be like him and stand at the door of each person’s life and knock. And when the door is opened, and when we are invited in, may we then feast on the stories. For there are many stories, because in God’s house, there are many rooms.

Chaplain Steve Richards has been working with Optage Hospice since 2019, first as an intern and then as a PHS employee in 2021. Prior to that, he was a stay-at-home dad to his two children and previously worked as a high school teacher in England where he taught religion and philosophy. He grew up in London, England (UK), and has been living in the USA since May 2005. He moved here to be with his wife. He is grateful for the privilege of working with PHS as it helps him live out the spiritual truth: "This is how love is made complete amongst us... in this world we are like Jesus" (1 John 4:17).

The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.

Find more in the Light for the Way series:

Love from ashes
Crying out to God who listens
Hearing God's voice in springtime
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series

In addition to Light for the Way, you can find reflections, devotions, music and other resources on the Pastoral Care website

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