Whose side is God not on?

By Tamara Miliken

I was recently talking to someone about my husband’s upcoming travel plans. My husband loves to travel. He loves taking pilgrimages and going to sacred places, and sometimes (his family would even say often) the places he goes are not always the safest.

I personally do not worry very much when he goes. In truth, my biggest worry is that he will find a way to talk me into going with him! Yet, as I was discussing his most recent adventure, the person I was speaking to was questioning travel anxiety around the trip. I ventured to share that I knew the person he is traveling with, as well as this person’s family, was a bit anxious, but that David is just not that way when he travels. The response I received from this remark was, “He must believe God is on his side.”

It was kindly meant, so I smiled politely, let the conversation drop from there, and shelved my gnawing gut reaction to these words.

I let the words back in when I had time to sit quietly with them.

What does the phrase mean, God is on your side? At my first brush against it my surface response was, not much. It’s just a thing people say, like so many other habitual things that come out of our mouths.

On second brush, I dug closer to my discomfort around the phrase. What about it bothered me?

I let my quiet steady breath take me deeper, closer to my heart and to my true voice. What about it bothers me?

Here it is: If God is on my husband’s side, whose side is God NOT on?

I know many beliefs find strength, even comfort, in the wrath of God. Of justice, and right and wrong, of cause and effect. I, however, do not. So many things seem uneven, and unfair. Could I blithely pawn this off on a God who chooses sides? My deep self sighed. No.

Coming away from my meditation around this saying, and my response to it, I made a resolution. These phrases that come out of our mouths, that have been blindly passed from one generation to the next – I resolved to slow down my responses. To hear my words before they leave my mouth. To ask in the space of a breath, do these words belong to my true self? If not, I resolve to swallow them, pass them through my digestive track and leave them where they belong. If they do, I will speak them with clarity and love.

The very first phrase that I intend to weed from my conversations is “kill two birds with one stone.” OK, I know at least one person is rolling their eyes at me right now. It’s meaning is the point, getting two things done with one task, to be efficient. Just as God is on your side is simply meant to bring comfort that something greater than you has your best interest at heart.

But when have I ever wanted to kill a bird, much less two, and with a stone nonetheless? Never. And when have I ever wanted to believe that the divine presence doesn’t long to be on everyone’s side? To be their wingman, to be a guiding whisper, to be deeply connected to every single soul that ever drew breath? Never.

I invite you this week when you have a few quite minutes to wonder this with me. What phrases are you mindlessly carrying with you that have no relevant meaning to you? How can you let them go, how can you replace them with something closer to your truth? How can we stop communicating superficially with one another and say what we truly mean? How can we build stronger connections to ourselves, our God, and the people we share our lives with?

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