I believe in the sun, even when it's not shining.
I believe in love, even when I can't feel it.
I believe in God, even when He is silent.
After the war, soldiers explored a concentration camp. They entered a cell where men had been kept. In that cell, they found these words scratched into the wall.
What would it be like to live in darkness, perhaps with only a tiny window that gives us a glimpse of the sun? How would it be like to live through every night lying on the cold, hard floor with no pillow to sink our heads into or a blanket to shield us from the cold; looking up at the grey "sky" that perpetually confines us in a box and thinking of the family and love ones we miss so dearly?
Our lives are full of trials and sufferings that we need not be confined in a cell to feel caged, depressed and lost. We are disillusioned by the pain we feel that we cannot understand how God can actually be real. No matter how many times the priest may preach in his homilies about God being our only source of hope, there just seems to be no hope.
Where is God?
Why doesn't He answer my prayers?
How can God let this kind of thing happen?
What's the point of praying?
What's the point of going to church?
I don't know what God is doing; I feel nothing when I pray;
I give up!!
What are we looking for? What are we expecting out of this person named Jesus? As people would say, "Seeing is believing." Can we believe without seeing?
As a matter of fact, we know that the sun is always shining because we learn that in elementary Science. We don't see the sun shining at night because of the rotation of the earth on its axis but we know and thus, believe that the sun never stops shining. In the same way, Jesus's love for us is consistent and everlasting even when we do not feel it, and He is always with us even when we cannot hear Him speak. Science cannot vouch for this but God gave us the ultimate assurance in Jesus, who left us His Holy Spirit so that knowing of this great love that God has for us, we may "see" and believe in Him.
Yet, we are always looking out for forms of His love, e.g. if our prayers have been answered, if we pray and feel Him very close to us, etc. If a husband is always buying flowers every month for his wife, washing the dishes after a meal, listening to her day and being there when she is down etc, it is obvious that he loves his wife. But what use is this love if she does not believe he loves her? Her knowledge of his love for her is based on the things he does for her. What happens if her husband's company starts to cut its employees' pay and he stops buying her flowers? Would she start to wonder, at least at some point in time, if it was really because of the pay-cut or could he have bought flowers for another woman instead?
So it is with God. We can never fully understand God's ways, why He does not give us a particular thing we have been praying so hard for or why He allows my love one to suffer the pain of cancer, etc. When prayers are unanswered, and all is silent, can we still believe in the God who sent His only beloved Son to suffer and die for us? Can we still believe in God's love that does not manifest itself in ways we want? Is God some spirit that sits at the bottom of a wishing well to collect our coins or a genie in a lamp to be released by us whom he must then serve as his master?
It is so easy to forget who God is. When emotions overwhelm, sorrow cuts deep in our hearts, excitement pushes our focus onto the exterior, etc, can we still remember who God is? The faithful One who never abandons us, always loving us unconditionally, sacrificially and mercifully? Can we hold on to this truth even when everything we are experiencing appear to contradict it?
Let us pray that God will increase our faith and deepen the love we have for Him, so that coming to know Him intimately, we can always faithfully remember who this God is so that we may believe in His love, even when we cannot feel it, believe in Him, even when He is silent.
11 October 2010