Turning to God

Daily Reading for June 10 • The Second Sunday after Pentecost

What motivates us to begin to follow the Christian path? Here we find that motives cluster around three major features of Christianity that attract many people: God’s power, goodness, and wisdom. Some people are motivated to turn to God because they seek help with various kinds of distress; others are drawn by the hope of nourishment for a hunger that nothing can satisfy; still others are attracted by the understanding of themselves and their world given by the Christian vision. Even in those cases in which one of the three motives is primary, the others may be significantly operative as well.

Throughout the ages, the most familiar motive that has led people to look to God for help is various kinds of distress. Supernatural power is sought in the face of external dangers such as diseases, storms and droughts, military invasions, and death. At a deeper level supernatural power is sought because of a destructive addiction, or as in the case of Augustine, inability to control one’s passions.

By and of itself relief from suffering does not establish that there is a God, but it is a powerful motive for belief in God. Supernatural relief has always been regarded as a reason to be committed and grateful to God. The account of the people of Israel is a witness to us—an invitation—to consider walking the path they have walked because, among other things, they have found guidance for life and relief in their distress.

From Spiritual Theology: The Theology of Yesterday for Spiritual Help Today by Diogenes Allen (Cowley Publications, 1997).

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