Saturday, October 17, 2015

"Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be"

I've generally prided myself on the fact that I'm a Christian woman. I believe in God, I believe Jesus died for our sins, I believe that it's important to live a kind and moral life. I believe in counseling people gently, and I believe in trying to love and forgive, imperfect creatures that we are at doing both. I do think that some behavior we all generally view as "okay" is actually immoral, but I also believe I fall short of good behavior quite often. Rather than judging, I try to simply straighten myself out, and be understanding of others, and to try and offer a good example. I fail a lot. But I try.

Lately, though, I've asked myself whether I actually believe in God.

This hurts me at my very core. I know it probably means I am going to hell; I hope I can be forgiven for my doubt, and I believe I can change. But I've become selfish and sad, and it's been harder and harder to have faith.

I guess part of it is that I also kind of want to believe in karma - what goes around, comes around. And, truth be told, I've never felt like I've been a particularly evil person. I actually try to be kind, and to smile, and to help people when needed. That said, I'm not the type of person who does volunteer work all the time either. I've always viewed myself as kind of in the middle - I'm not a great, perfect, super-giving person, but I don't think I've ever done great evil, either. I'm normal, bordering on simply pleasant (if a little annoying at times, and sometimes also a bit selfish). I'm generally neutral ground, with a hope that I can have a positive impact here and there.

That is why I've had such a hard time coping with why such a horrible, evil thing happened to me, and why God let it happen. Why my life and my marriage had to suddenly take this awful turn, even though I'd done no great evil to anyone else, at least not that I'm aware of.

I've been back and forth on this. Is it a test of my faith? Is it just because people did this to me, and I'm meant to turn to God for comfort? Because part of me could accept that, except I'm also told at church to keep praying. But it's felt like my prayers are so empty - like no one is listening. Sometimes, things work out the way I pray them to work out. Other times, bad things win out.

Perhaps I'm not meant to understand. After all, I can't claim to be God. I don't know what the big picture is, and why this puzzle piece has to fall into place like so - with someone suffering and being sad or a bad thing happening - and why another puzzle piece works out. But not knowing the big picture is very frustrating and can be deterring. I want to understand. I want to know - why this, why that? What IS the plan? The fact that this often seems like a one-sided conversation and I'm not allowed to know the other side of things is truly a test of my faith, and makes it so hard to keep going.

So sometimes I get angry, and depressed, and I start to blame God for what happened to me, and I feel like maybe I am just alone out here, and prayer is just another way of talking to myself in an effort to work things out on my own. Or, if God does exist, I have to ask why He let this happen, and what I did that was so bad to deserve this.

And then the guilt starts, about how other people have it worse, and I am pretty damn lucky, with food and clothing and housing and a lot of toys and comforts. But somehow it doesn't all make up for the heartbreak. 

So... being at peace with God... it's a work in progress. I don't know where I'm going to land on that. I just hope that eventually, I do achieve that peace.

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