Why Won't God Show Up Like I Expect Him To?

August 9, 2020   Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Lectionary: 115)

Reading 1   1 KGS 19:9A, 11-13A

At the mountain of God, Horeb,
Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter. 
Then the LORD said to him,
“Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD;
the LORD will be passing by.” 
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—
but the LORD was not in the wind. 
After the wind there was an earthquake—
but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 
After the earthquake there was fire—
but the LORD was not in the fire. 
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. 
When he heard this,
Elijah hid his face in his cloak
and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Responsorial Psalm   PS 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14

R. (8) Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD — for he proclaims peace.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Reading 2   ROM 9:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie;
my conscience joins with the Holy Spirit in bearing me witness
that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. 
For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ
for the sake of my own people,
my kindred according to the flesh. 
They are Israelites;
theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants,
the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;
theirs the patriarchs, and from them,
according to the flesh, is the Christ,
who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

Alleluia   PS 130:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I wait for the Lord;
my soul waits for his word.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel   MT 14:22-33
After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side,
while he dismissed the crowds. 
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. 
When it was evening he was there alone. 
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. 
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea. 
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. 
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. 
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” 
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 
He said, “Come.” 
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. 
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 
After they got into the boat, the wind died down. 
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”
By Blanca Morales 

I've never considered myself to have a Type A personality. Sure, I like to plan things out as much as possible, and create Excel sheets for workflow, and be productive every moment possible. 

To sit and wait around for things to happen? No, thanks.

Perhaps I’ve become influenced by the professional world where time is money. Everything has to fit into a neat little compartment, and God forbid if things don’t go according to plan. In today's young professional culture, busyness is glorified as a sign of success.

I wasn’t always so methodical. As a creative, I thrived on spontaneity, patiently waiting for inspiration to come when it pleased. I really let the Holy Spirit lead me in all things, and never felt the need to tell Him when and how to work.

But then I found myself working in a corporate setting, where it was all about performance and getting things done. Time waited for no one. I just couldn’t sit around for creative genius to show up.

This kind of mentality began to seep into my prayer life as well. 

“Okay, God. This is my prayer time. Now’s your chance to speak to me, so let’s hear it. Here’s my to do list, let me know what you think.”

Of course, that didn’t really get me anywhere. I would either hear crickets, or the sound of someone else’s stomach gurgle in the Adoration Chapel. 

Where was the writing on the wall? Where was the thundering voice giving me precise instructions to my next steps?

The silence would be deafening and I would leave feeling as if I had wasted my time, because God didn’t show up like I expected Him to.

In the first reading, God made Himself known in the simplest and quietest of ways. It’s a reminder that I need to quiet my heart to experience His presence. I need to remember to let Him surprise me.

Throughout my life, it has been in the moments when I least expect it that I hear God speak clearly: the wind rustling through a tree, a not-so-random verse that jumps out at me from the Bible, or even a gesture of kindness from someone.

I try to constantly remember that God will show up for us and speak to us, but it’s not on my time or in my way. I can’t “schedule” revelation, nor tell God how to be God. Thank goodness He doesn’t follow my limiting ways, because how could He surprise me otherwise?  

When I had left Adoration that one night, after I had done most of the talking and felt He wasn’t talking back (and still, I wondered why), something made me look up. Seeing the stars shine brightly, I was captivated on sight. There He was and He spoke straight to my heart.

There in the midst of stillness, He said more to me in that quiet moment than I could have ever expected.

As if that weren’t enough, a song came into my heart, as if He were dedicating it to me: “Look at the stars, look how they shine for you…”

It was just what I needed to hear from Him.


Blanca Morales is a writer and communications professional hailing from a sunny corner of Florida.  She is inspired to encourage beauty, creativity and authenticity. An avid urban explorer, she is often found at quaint little cafes discussing the loveliness of nature. She has also written for Life Teen, the Archdiocese of Miami, Verily Magazine, and others. She shares about her faith and all things caffeinated here.   

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