Let God In : Week 2 | Day 2
It can be hard for others to know what the “good news” of Christ looks like, without a personal story of how God has acted in our lives. Br. John Braught admits that, for him, it is often easiest to let God into his life in times of darkness. Thus good news often comes out of bad times.
Question: What difference has having a relationship with God made in your life?
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Activity: Listening Hand
Transcript: There are probably as many definitions of good news as there are believers. The good news is about the new life that we have been given in Christ. Now I think that this can sometimes be a little empty and hard to know what that means without a story, without a personal narrative about how God has acted in your life. That’s the good news we have to offer other people.
The most concise statement of what this might look like is found in our rule in the chapter on preaching. And it says that, “People are hungry for good news, that life is full of meaning in union with God.” What that means to me is that life with a relationship with God is better than life without a relationship with God. And I’ve experienced both, and maybe you have too. And so what difference has that relationship with God made in your life? That’s the good news we have to offer.
Now in addition to the difference that just having a relationship with God has made in your life, all of us are invited to invite God into our lives more and more each and every day. We’re called to let go of old ways of doing things, old ideas, let go of control, and to invite God in to have control and guide us in a way that God would have us live.
Now that means when the good news comes to us, it’s often because something bad is going on. It often takes pain, darkness, and struggle before we are really ready to let go and let God into our lives. So proclaiming that to other people, telling them that, “Well, things need to get bad before they get good,” doesn’t always seem like good news on the face of it. But it’s our story; it’s our narrative for those of us who have passed through the other side, who continue to try to grow, and change in this way of dying and rising, falling and getting up day by day. That’s the good news. That’s what we have to share with other people.
What difference has having a relationship with God made in your life?
– Br. John Braught
Question: What difference has having a relationship with God made in your life?
Who has been a channel of God’s grace for you? In conversation or over email this week, reach out to five people to find out how they came to know God’s love. How does the Good News shape the way they live? Reflect on how you are inspired by their witness and examples.
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Br. John. Your message resonates within my bones. For the past 8 years my wife and I have struggled with the effects of the 2008 economic downturn. Struggled to keep our home, pay utilities, etc. In an amazing way, we are now close to digging ourselves out.
With constant faith, worship and study of the good word we were able to ultimately “let go and let God”. So difficult to do, but in reality when you get to the point of impending doom thoughts it is the only way to go. We are ALL IN!!
Thank God we have our health and sound minds to realize that the only way is the Lord’s way. AMEN. Peace. Cheers.
For me, having a relationship with God was forged in a time of pain and suffering. You’re totally right about that. When those times come again, I now know God is with me. The situation might not change, but I know he is present in my life, and that makes all the difference. A second way that having a relationship has made a difference to me is that I can now observe the most ordinary things in life and see God in them. There is joy in life every day. God incarnate is in everything.
Having a relationship with God gives me some serenity to the storms of life. I have come to see, as others have written here already, that God is working for good in the world and that my understanding can be very much limited and incomplete. So I am able to grow in trusting God that what comes my way can be used to shape me like Jesus and to serve more effectively. But I still have a long way to go.
One of my favorite quotes is from the singer/
songwriter Bill Withers. His quote is; “Sometimes on your way to wonderful, you have to spend sometime in alright.” God is with us in “wonderful” and “alright.”
I agree to so many of the points made above that I nearly didn’t feel the need to reply. First, right-on, Brother John! And Amen, Cathy Guzauskas! And I totally agree with Rhode … these blogs are a wonderful source of stimulating thought and fellowship.
But the reason I decided to add my two cents here is because for me, having God in my life keeps me closer to reality. And I’m talking about “real” reality, not the stuff that’s on the “news”. I’m talking about the Good News. God’s will … God’s purpose. Jesus taught us many things, but his main teaching was all about love. All you need is love. Yeah, I know that sounds a lot like John Lennon, but Jesus said it first. And that’s the Truth.
Having a relationship with God in my life reminds me about all of the things I need to do to follow the way of God. Every day I make mistakes. I don’t let people in the way I ought to. I sometimes forget and think that because I am nominally a Christian I am a better person than they are. I think I am more worthy than they are to make certain decisions. Having a relationship with God helps me to remember the worthiness of others and that God loves everyone just as much as me. He forgives my crooked views and helps me to repent. God helps my relationships with others.
I have gone to church my whole life, but I didn’t truly become a Christian until I suffered, as alluded to by Br. John. I married a non-Christian and living with him plunged me into darkness..a darkness which caused me to leave church for two years, during which time I had a break down. It has taken eleven years, and truly turning to God, to heal me. So for me, having a relationship with God has brought me joy and wholeness. He has supported me through my parents, and my church home. He has taught me to trust Him in all things and to realise how much He loves me. Also that I don’t have to do anything to earn God’s love, it is unconditional and free. I don’t have to do good works to chock up ‘brownie points’ in order to be saved. Good works are simply a way of responding to God’s love for me and for others. I am already saved because Christ already has the victory.
My relationship with God has opened a cosmos-sized world to me. My awareness is broader, concerns deeper, and my God is bigger. My relationship with Jesus Christ has turned my view of much of life upside down, with what matters most shaped by a Jesus perspective rather than a largely consumer culture.
My relationship with God has helped me believe that I am forgivable and lovable, even when I am struggling to forgive or love myself. This belief then strengthens me to forgive and to love others who I might otherwise perceive as unforgivable or unlovable. My relationship with God imbue me with a spirit of gratitude and a desire to give back in thankfulness. It has sustained me through times that could have been filled with guilt and despair, and increased my joy during times of celebration.
I was born and raised in the church but drifted away from it for a long time for no specific reason. It was during a time of personal darkness that I decided to return on my own. At first it was difficult and I took very small steps forward, but over the past several years I’ve been actively trying to cultivate a closer relationship with God. I’m now extremely involved with my church and the programs we have. I don’t “share the Good News” so to speak but I do share when it’s appropriate that deepening your personal faith can have many benefits. I’m grateful to have my spiritual life and only want to deepen it with more study, practice and activities like these.
It has given me a retreat; a Lord to pray to, to converse with, to depend upon, to release to, to pray to and to love, it has given me times (sometimes short, sometimes long) of peace. It has given me: lessons, awakenings, realizations, frightening awarenesses, horrible recollections of sins, of weaknesses, and “he says so hesitatingly, “strength.” and so much more.
My relationship with God kept me alive during the time after my husband died unexpectedly at the age of 45. That relationship manifested itself in the love and care of friends who let me cry and rage, but who never let me spiral down or get lost in the depths of my grief. Those people were God in human form for me, and my faith helped me see that as the days passed.
After many frustrating years of church-going, I decided to take an LOA! This lasted 25 years!. During this church hiatus I explored many different healing/growing/meditating practices. On one occasion I returned to my home city and visited my natal church and sat in silence, simply being there, remembering years of Sunday School and what, if anything, it had meant to me. Into the silence a voice said “Get Back To Church”. Honestly I looked around this large, empty church. The Voice came again, clearly, simply, “Get Back To Church”. I was shaken, but at the same time, reinforced in the work I had been doing to bring me to this place of hearing. I did return and found such a sweet welcome, a changed church from the one I had left, so much more open, a woman priest, a home-coming, silently, I slipped into a pattern, putting one toe into joining, into sharing the work I had been doing in the past 25 years and was welcomed to share it with those through this precious church. Glory to God, whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine, Glory to God in the church and in Christ Jesus. Ah I am home.
Beautiful. Thanks be to God, and thanks for sharing.
Simply put: a simple analogy: life without God is like black and white TV, is two dimensional, life with God is color, and three dimensional, much richer, and deeper.
I try to always “listen for God”, and through prayer worship and Scripture, I know that God is in me, with me, and in darkness and light.
Thanks for that message John. I think if you do the best you can and keep Our Lord in your heart, that things will work out for you. I certainly remember you brothers and pray for you and my friends and family each day. I was so appreciated of Jonathan coming over to help me with Johns funeral. I think if you treat people how you want to be treated you are doing the right thing. Thanks for your thoughts. Jane
My relationship with God has transformed my world view from a fearful place, where I had to be on guard, to a benign, welcoming and supportive environment. This transformation in perspective has allowed me to create a happy, fulfilling and meaningful life of prayer and service. You are right Br. John, from great suffering comes wisdom.
I have seen God act in my life. In my need God gave me a job that just paid for the car repair. He called my name and that saved me in a car accident. He brought a light sprinkle of rain crying with me moments after my husband died. My Love for our God will never end
Blessings to all
My relationship with God has opened my eyes to the love that exists in everything–even in the difficulties. God’s relationship with me has made me aware of the beautiful cycle of life, of which, death plays an integral role. Life is love and love is relationship. It is born, it wears down and dies, but then regenerates. It is on-going, and I am a part of it. We are a part of it. Creation is this cycle of love, this relationship.
Having someone to thank. Everyday I see beautiful things in nature and as a single person out walking I have no partner to turn to and say “Look at that, it’s so beautiful” . Instead I just can say “Thank you Lord for letting me see that wonderful thing”. Or for a warming, chance encounter or engaging conversation, a co-incidence or time or synchronicity that brings about a pleasant outcome. It is wonderful to be able just to say “Thank you Lord”.
the good news for me was hearing there was a way of life and a way of death. and that i could choose life. one Sunday morning i sat in church, a lonely, abused, confused teen wondering why people who said they loved me could be so cruel. i still can feel that moment sitting under that window with sun pouring on me as i felt an arm around my shoulder … seriously…. i felt as if God knew i needed consoling. To this day it still seems a clear moment of the start of my journey into hope. Years later after side trips into anxiety, resentment, depression and therapy the constant star was the courage i received whenever i read the bible. …as i grew older the cross finally broke my heart as i looked at myself through Jesus eyes and realized i, too, could be cruel and hateful….there is nothing like grace and forgiveness and clarity to heal a troubled past and empower a person to really want to live in the present.
Now, at 62 i have to dig deep (thank you for blogs like these) to remember because the complicated life i have now has Gods’ love clearly woven through sorrows and hardships. the good news for me is believing God has my back and i can choose to pick up grace as well as give grace everyday.
Like so much about God there is a mystery. I’m very unsure what the terms “good news ” and to “have a relationship with God” means. So often I feel I’m on my own, but perhaps I have not sat with the question long enough or that I simply don’t understand or recognize God in my life. Either way it leaves me confused and wondering what is it that prevents me from seeing or understanding
Good morning Michael: I can only tell you how it is for me – we all come into this relationship with the Almighty Creator in different ways. For example, what is it that nudges me this morning to send you this little message? We read and are told that our thoughts are not initially our thoughts – they are beforehand God’s messages to us.// God is in my life – yes – but I did not always understand that. What I find now is that there may not seem to be an answer to my prayer, but I have come to know that my time, is not God’s time and that the answer may come days later, or longer. Suddenly, one day, I will realize that there is an answer. We have to learn to hear that whisper.// Before he died, my husband was in hospital for ten months. I asked God to grant me patience, compassion and a loving heart and the answer to those prayers were I believe granted me. Perhaps your prayer could be to ask God to be with you, and for you to come to know that. It won’t happen overnight (our time) but in God’s good time. It will happen. Blessings Christina
When we read the New Testament and the miracles of Jesus, they were very physical and immediate and I wonder what has happened to miracles. Then I realize that I woke up this morning and the first miracle of the day has begun. Saying thank you to God for that miracle starts a relationship for the day and that makes each day “good news”.
As a recovered alcoholic, I know very well that I had to hit a painful bottom of hopelessness before I could heal. It took a messenger from God in the form of a drunk tank nurse to yell at me ” What a f……g waste of a good person”. Only from that point on did I let myself have feelings, accept and react responsibly to those feelings and start walking a spiritual path which required a total life-style change. But it took me a lot longer to come to recognise that my “higher power” was indeed God and even longer to accept that Church, with all its faults, is a haven for renewal. I can now walk without stumbling, play music without fear of failure, write poetry and books with a sense of purpose and be welcomed as a role model and caretaker to my family. The Devil was myself, my pride, my insecurities, my self deprecation; substituting God for the “my’s”, putting his will before mine……there sure is a difference between humbleness and humility…..but I have to always sustain my connection with God through prayer or the my’s will start creeping back.
I was moved and helped by your phrase “the devil was myself”. thank you
Such a simple and concise way to describe the Good News of Christ, that life in relationship with God has meaning it wouldn’t otherwise have. I like to say the Good News is that “we matter to God,” but we really discover this when we seek a relationship, and then allow ourselves to discover the meaning unfolding before us as we go. Thank you Brother John.
God bless you, John Braught. It’s been a priviledge to know you and watch you grow at SSJE.
Having a relationship with God is the difference between living and just existing. It is through God that I can feel truly alive. Whether in celebration or sorrow, it all becomes meaningless without acknowledging that the blessed presence of God is working in me and all around me.
I feel I have more of a relationship with God now than ever before. Writing letters everyday to him boost my enthusiasm. In the beginning I felt alone and wanting more than just going to church once in a while. I feel the Holy Spirit each time I have communion. God loves me and I want to sing with joy that I love Him.
There are few of us so wise as to seek out God prior to pain in our lives. Having God in my life has allowed me to see a bigger picture. A prayer that didn’t get answered in the way you had hoped often serves another purpose. Something as simple as getting a really bad cold often prompts a true appreciation for good health. An poor spending habit that creates debt often teaches people how to budget. We seem to learn best when we struggle.
The one relationship above all that matters to me is with my Heavenly Father. All other relationships flow from that primal relationship.
I so agree with you that in times of pain, seperation and hurt, Our Father is closer.
God so often is the instigator of our personal relationships. Our closest relationships are God given, and God Blessed.
2 Lents later and the Good News of Jesus, the Cross and His resurrection are still the most powerful motivators I know to get off my butt. Shutting off negative vibes and distractions by reading good stuff about people like Mother Teresa, monks who hid and shuttled Jews during WW2, the Amish during the shootings, applauding and supporting those working tirelessly and probono for the migrants pouring in, prison reform, and being part of a vibrant community striving to ease homelessness, feeding the hungry and those in the poverty of loneliness …these all help balance and maintain a right relationship with God and our world. That relationship invites me to think and do good things. He LOVES me into wanting to be and do the Gospel. How can we not desire reclamation, redemption, renewal – the Tikun Olam of this world? Here is God holding out a vast bucket of hope….present everywhere even as the world says no. My best days are when I am not afraid to throw the doors wide open.