“Show me a sign, and I will believe.” I hear it all the time, a million different ways. “If God is real, why doesn’t he just show himself to us, and remove all doubt?” “Isn’t it easier to say that there is no point to it all, rather than say that some imaginary God is everywhere, orchestrating everything?” “I’d believe if I saw a miracle, but miracles don’t really happen.”
In some ways, I find this one of the hardest questions to answer in the world. In another, it’s the simplest question to answer of all.
I think we get confused as to what we are looking at as we go through our lives. We live with our eyes closed, and cannot see what is right in front of us. We think that God is some great trickster, hiding himself from us for some grand plan, almost as if he doesn’t want us to know he is even here. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We are so used to the world as we see it, that we have no idea just how miraculous everything around us is. We are surrounded by inexpressible beauty, with a depth and complexity that we cannot fathom, and at the same time with a powerful simplicity that we can reach and see. Let me explain for a moment just how magical and miraculous our lives really are.
As I wrote this homily, I was sitting in my living room, just relaxing on the couch. I see how old and worn out my couch is, the room needs painting, and I wish the whole house was just a bit bigger. We feel quite cramped at times, as our house is quite small. Why couldn’t I own an island in the tropics, or why not a mountaintop mansion?
But as I sit here in my little house, a universe sits outside my walls. The sun rises in majestic glory, and in my overgrown backyard, there is a wilderness of growth and life if I look close enough. But alas, I see only the overgrown weeds. We insulate ourselves into our own little worlds, and do not see the obvious that is all around us. I spend more time staring at my phone than studying the magical growth of the trees outside my door, or the crashing of waves on the beach. Let alone marveling at the beauty of my own mind, my own consciousness and identity.
We are like fish in bowls, but our bowls are in the ocean. We could swim out any time we like, but we choose not to, we choose to stay in our little bubble and count what little pebbles we own inside. And then we ask God why? Why won’t you make my little bubble shine brighter? Why won’t you make it more comfortable? Why won’t you just show yourself, and fill my bubble so I don’t have any more doubts?
We get so caught up in our bubble, that even when God tries to break through to us, we still cannot see. “Have I been with you for so long a time, and you still do not know me Phillip?” We become the blind man. Christ came to set us free, to give us new eyes, but we cannot use them. We don’t want new eyes, we want broken eyes, we want to be happy in our bubble, and seem unwilling to recognize that we were made for something much bigger than our little bubble.
Some people live in mansions, some in landfills. Some people drive fancy cars, some are lucky if they own a bike. Some people confine their bubble to their home and work, some people to their church community. God did not confine us, we confine ourselves. God tries to pull us out with all the beauty he can muster, and we keep our eyes downcast.
God knows none of this matters. All this stuff we think is so important, it just doesn’t matter. As Paul alludes, rich or poor, sick or well, dead or alive, it makes no difference, except that it is with Christ. It’s all the same. We count our dollars and toys, but we are not made for dollars and toys, we are made for sunsets and relationships. We are surrounded by God, we live our entire being in God, God swirls around us in the night sky, holds the very atomic structure of the wood that supports our homes, in our own bodies, God has created endless miracles. Yet we only desire “a sign”
How many signs do we think we need? We don’t need a sign at all, we just need to open our eyes and see what is right in front of us. We are all Phillip, looking straight into the eyes of God, blinded by our own bubble. If we don’t believe the Man, we should at least believe the works.