Things Are Not Always As They Appear

There was a time that I had to move to the other side of the country without my children because of work. They stayed with their father. This period, as I recall it, was the most miserable time of my life.

I remember my first trip down to Helsinki to see my boys. We didn’t have much time;only a couple of hours between my meetings.

We went to Pizza Hut and had dinner together.I remember how I enjoyed listening to them. They talked about their everyday matters. Nothing extraordinary. But every word was special to me at that moment. I felt I was part of their lives.

Time flew by fast. And when we were standing at the railway station again, now departing, we found it difficult to say good-bye and so we just stood silent until the older son said: “Mom, it only looks as if we are parting, but we are not. We are always together, for I pray every day.”

And even though we took different trains and travelled to different destinations, I knew that it only looked like we had parted,but we were together; deeply connected. I learned an important lesson.

Things are not always as they appear. We should not judge anyone—not even ourselves—by appearance. It may look like you are not a believer, but you know it’s not true, for you pray every day.It may look like God has abandoned you, but it is not true. You are deeply connected to God.

Your life may be in such a mess that you think that God could not be interested in it. But things are not always as we believe they are. God has come down. He does not avoid us; He comes after us - even to the lowest hell—for He loves sinners.

Jesus calls God “Father”. God is like any parent who is missing his or her children,who is counting the days and the hours till He sees them again, who is waiting at the window or at the railway station to see them come home again.

And when they eventually come, He is happy to see them, to listen to them, to have supper with them. He doesn’t expect to hear great success stories from us; He is interested in our everyday life. I don’t think that the first thing He would ask was:“What evil have you done?” But if we have heavy thoughts and a bad conscience God is willing to take our burden and forgive.

At that time when I had to live far from my children, I would have given anything to have someone who would have told my boys everyday that I loved them; who would have reminded them of my love.

Today I can see that God, in fact, had that same desire. The Gospel reads: “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything,and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

Things are not always as they appear. It may look like God is light years away from you, because you feel you don’t measure up or fit in the form that people regard as “normal”. God is not far away. “The Lord is near to the broken hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.” You are always together, for you pray every day.You have a deep connection that the world doesn’t see or know. The Holy Spirit binds you together. And the Holy Spirit ensures that“ nothing or no one can separate you from God’s love.”

Rev. Riitta Hepomaki