The recent 16-day government shut down affected some friends of mine in ways that I never expected. A couple of friends were out of work. Another had to postpone a mission trip since her passport could not be processed. National news spotlighted other unforeseen consequences of the shutdown: Monuments in Washington D.C. were closed to the public; the tourist economy at National Parks was curtailed; federally funded medical research was put on hold. I guess it was one of those "you never knew what you had until it was gone" type of things.

The recent 16-day government shut down affected some friends of mine in ways that I never expected. A couple of friends were out of work. Another had to postpone a mission trip since her passport could not be processed. National news spotlighted other unforeseen consequences of the shutdown: Monuments in Washington D.C. were closed to the public; the tourist economy at National Parks was curtailed; federally funded medical research was put on hold. I guess it was one of those "you never knew what you had until it was gone" type of things.


I wonder what would happen if there was a heavenly shut down. Would we’d wake up one morning and find that today’s sunrise has been postponed until further notice? Would we look up at the stars on a clear night and notice that 30% of the stars have been blacked out due to lack of funding? Would we get down on our knees at the end of the day to pray and hear a booming voice announce that "no requests can be taken today due to the heavenly shutdown"? Would we show up a church only to see a placard announcing "We’re sad to announce that no praise can be delivered to heaven today"? Thank God that He never shuts down. Who knows what would become of us if that were to ever happen.


Yet, that is how many of us feel at times, isn’t it? We feel that God has shut down on us. That God has been so overloaded that our concerns go unnoticed. At times we feel that God has just given up on us. Job must have felt like that as he tended the boils that had ravaged his body. Joseph must have felt like that as his brothers brokered the deal to sell him into slavery. Abraham must have felt like that as month after month went by and Sarah remained barren. Jesus may have even felt like that as he cried out on the cross, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" We all sometimes feel like that and that’s why Scripture reminds us that God never stops working, even when we wonder.


In a letter to Christians who had begun to suspect that God has shut down on them, the apostle Paul reminds them that even when that appears to be true that God is still working. In one of the most-loved verses in the Bible Paul writes, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28, NIV84).


God works — what powerful words!


Even in difficult circumstances God is picking up all the broken pieces to bring about something good — God works!


Even when he appears to us to absent and the world is falling in on us — God works!


Even when we don’t even know it — God works!


I think that when we get to heaven and ask God what He was up to in our lives we will be quite surprised at all the things he was doing that we didn’t even notice. He affects our lives in more ways than we can even imagine. He’s working anonymously and behind the scenes planning good out of the messes we find ourselves in. He’ s working in your life right now. It’s what he does. He is never flustered. He never runs out of resources. He never is slowed down by evil. He will never shutdown. God works!


Todd Catteau is the pulpit minister of Park Avenue Church of Christ in Denison.