The One Behind Everything

Back over a year ago, I arrived in a village in Ecuador to bring some good news: some gifts from their relatives back in the States and someone in the name of God to share the message of God’s love and closeness. It was a very special time for me and for the local people, as kids in the school got Christmas gifts and seniors in the village received some basic foods. I also had the chance to preach and share some reflections and prayers, and some of the story of what is happening back in the States with their relatives.

But something else arrived with me when I came, something that was probably the most needed at the time.

It rained.

Rain the rural places is such a staple of life, that droughts are one of the main sources of suffering and drivers of migration. I know of several entire villages that are filled with people from another part of the country, who migrated because of drought. When there is a drought, the water supply for drinking and bathing can lessen, but that’s not the worst of it. Usually, a drought is a very long extension of the dry season, meaning that people are itching for the first substantial rains in order to start planting. No planting means no harvesting, means no food. But drought affects the animals as well: when the dry season extends, the grass and plants that livestock eat whither and animals don’t eat. They suffer and thin out, yielding less milk reproducing less, and less meat. They become less valuable for selling. My point is that the rain is so important because it has a domino effect on all of life.

So, the first night that I stayed over, for the first time since the dry season started, it rained. And rained, and rained. And everyone’s mood changed. When I arrived at the school or the church house, everyone was so grateful – not so much for the gifts, those are great. But what everyone was saying was the same: “You brought the rain!” At a gathering in front of everyone, the man who was hosting me, one of the leaders, stood up and described how the rain coming was one of a few miraculous signs that he had seen surrounding me.

So, in my last night, when I got to speak to everyone, I had to do a little explaining. See, God puts the signs with the one He sends so that you know who is behind everything. I can’t make it rain or stop raining – I have no control over the weather. It’s not me doing those things, it’s the One I’m with. God gives the sign so that you know that the good news that I bring, the truth of how much they are loved, is from Him – the One behind everything.

When God called Moses aside and said, I am going to send you to my people to bring them great news and lead them out of Egypt, Moses said, “I can’t do that. Who am I?” And God answered the most important thing: “I will be with you.” God is going to give him a voice, his brother Aaron. God is going to make the Israelites open to Moses, and make Pharaoh closed to him. God is going to do the miracles, bring the plagues, part the Red Sea. And it’s going to be God who feeds and sustains the Israelites in the desert for 40 years. It’s not Moses who’s doing everything, it’s the One he’s with – the One behind everything.

In the Gospel, the Judeans at one point are looking for a sign from Jesus, proof of what he can do. They say, our ancestors ate manna in the desert. And Jesus says, “It was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.” (Jn 6:32) See, the problem that the Judeans have is that they’re looking to see what Jesus himself can do. They can’t see that there’s a message about how much they are loved from the One he’s with – the One behind everything.

When someone comes into our lives at just the right place and time with the gift of good news, whether it’s a doctor, a friend, a stranger, a neighbor … maybe a blogger … or whoever, it’s wonderful to be grateful to the person for all that the person is and what they bring.

But to get the real gift, look past the messenger to the One they’re with.

The One behind everything.

It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.” (Jn 6:63)

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