Years ago, when my son was an infant, I’d put him on the couch in the living room, secure behind bundled up blankets and pillows. Humming, I’d go into the kitchen to do the dishes and start dinner, and, every so often, I’d turn around to look at him as I worked. He was always sleeping soundly.

Once, I looked over and I didn’t see my son – my dog had put herself right in front of him and stared at me balefully as if to say, “Hey Ma, I’m here too, y’know!” I’d go over and pat her head as I checked on my boy.

So even if I’m not always in the same room, and I may not be actively attending to my loved ones at any given moment, they are always on my mind and in my heart.  If I don’t seem to be “there” for them, at least they know, I’m “thereabouts.” I’m always thinking of them and am constantly concerned for their well-being.

Sometimes when things are not going as we’d expected, we question God.  I’ve been known to ask quite frankly in my New Jersey way, “Lord, I’m not asking, ‘Are you there?’ Oh, I know You’re there.  I’m asking, ‘Are you there for me?'”

If I look at my own little world, my son might well occasionally say the same thing of me.  After he comes home from school, he usually finds me in the sunroom working on my weekly copywriting gigs. “Grab a snack, honey, I’m busy,” I’ll say. It might seem like I’m not there for him.  But does he realize that a chill rolled in last night and I got up at 2 AM to put an extra blanket on him as he slept?

Does God work the same way?  Hmm.

Last week my neighbor cleared my driveway of a heavy snowfall before I even woke up. I offered to pay him, but he waved away my money, hoisted the snow blower and went across the street to clear another neighbor’s driveway.

A month or so ago, I left my wallet at a restaurant.  When I went back in a panic, the server was standing by the door waiting for me, both hands clutching my wallet protectively.  He looked as worried as I did!

I think the slow drip of doubt that I let corrode my relationship with God tends to rust over the things that He does for me through other people, and the things He does through me for other people. I’ve focused so specifically on what God hasn’t done for me lately that I almost need an interpreter to remind me that He works in mysterious ways, but make no mistake:  He works.

Faith works.

Just because we want everything to be perfect – and it isn’t – that doesn’t negate the good things that are always happening.  Somewhere.  And if something good isn’t happening to you at that moment, it doesn’t stop you from doing good for somebody else.

This dovetails with what Lori asked us to do this week:  forgive someone. When you forgive, you extend healing and hospitality where there was once only pain.  It also takes a weight off of your own soul and leaves that space open for genuine joy.

Doing a favor for someone else is a nice deposit in the bank of goodwill. Maybe we’re designed to do what we can do and leave the rest up to Him.  But if we wait for Him to do it all, He’s not the one who isn’t “there” – we are.  Maybe after all our praying and waiting, God shows up when we do.