Giveaways Aplenty

In my Religious Education classes, my students and I talk often about the many ways God reveals His presence and love to us.

Not only does He do this in the form of miracles and other occurrences detailed in the Bible, but God provides proof of Himself in daily living all around us today.

An example of this comes in one of the stories I cover with my students.

We read about a young boy killed during a severe storm, taken from his dad’s embrace during wicked gusts of wind.

Throughout the ensuing heartache, the man, his wife and their daughter are comforted by their loving church community and the townsfolk who knew their son fondly.

On the one-year anniversary of their son’s death, the parents return to the scene of the twister, in effort to find closure and peace following the loss of their child.

It is at this time they see a bright and strong rainbow in the sky, and they immediately feel God’s support with their son reassuring them from Heaven.

It is signs like this that show us God’s boundless protection, along with His unconditional guidance so we can grow closer to Him.

While God certainly introduces Himself in the form of a natural phenomenon like a rainbow, He also offers Himself through the introduction of people in our lives.

Sometimes, these people are the least expected to serve as God’s gift to us.

For instance, as we also study in our Religion classes, a man named Francis of Assisi came to appreciate God’s full presence one day in encountering a leper.

St Francis & LeperThrough meeting and subsequently embracing the leper, Francis was freed of all that imprisoned him because of his judgment and discrimination.

It was through experiences like this that he would witness God around him always.

This man, who would later be known as St. Francis of Assisi, would come to embody complete concern for God’s creation, including nature, animals and humanity – especially the poor.

As many know, he also serves as inspiration for our current pontiff, Pope Francis, and his mission for the Roman Catholic Church.

Who would have figured much of this would be because of a gift God gave in the form of a leper?

Certainly, God can and does reveal Himself in other ways and in other individuals, including an innocent newborn.

Three weeks ago, my wife Catherine and I welcomed our third child into the world, our daughter Naomi.

Newborn BabyAs any parent could tell you, the miracle of life is nothing short of remarkable.

Holding Naomi and adoring her as she sleeps peacefully in my arms or wrapped so warmly in a bassinet, I can’t help but marvel at how God has entered our home and family once again.

The grin she gives with eyes closed or her tender grasp of my finger with her hand are but two examples of how God reaches out, simply wanting to be a part of our joy.

But just as He presents Himself in the form of our baby, God ultimately reveals His love to the world through his Son Jesus.

Born with humble beginnings in a manger, Jesus is later sacrificed unselfishly so that God’s world can have endless freedom. (John 3:16)

Jesus’ crucifixion and holy resurrection offer each one of us new and eternal life, providing rescue from our sin and salvation in His Kingdom of Heaven.

Resurrection 2How blessed we are to have a Lord who places everything and everyone at the center of His heart and at the forefront of every plan.

And so, on this Easter weekend, may we remember the countless ways God gives away His love freely to His creation, most notably through His Son, our saving Lord Jesus.

In churches all across the world tomorrow, we will acclaim a Paschal greeting of “Christ is Risen. Truly, He is Risen.”

Let us always acknowledge and proclaim how God is with us still, each day and all around us.

Truly, He is with us.

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