Put your hope in God.”
But what if you don’t trust him? Or even believe in him?
Are you a very sensitive person? Well, I suppose I am picturing a particular sort of sensitivity, i.e., do you sometimes watch the news or think about the evil or suffering in the world and get completely overwhelmed? Absorb it like a sponge until you are heavy sodden and incapacitated?
Some people see the problems in the world, and leap into action helping however way they can. But when some people look they just see an insurmountable mound of need and pain in the world. They are stymied into paralysis like a deer caught in headlights. They look for a warm pile of puppies to burrow under while they wait it out. Because they cannot do everything, they do nothing.
I am a puppy pile burrower.
Kittens also work.
Once I had neither and used my husband Chris.
At times, I am overwhelmed by the need in the world.
This makes me feel guilty for what I have. Or at least, it makes me feel unjustified for voicing any need. This is not all bad.
At other times, I am overcome with anger because of the evil and injustice in the world.
Angry at God. Angry at the idea that He is good. Angry at the idea that any god could exist and allow such evil.
Now maybe this is just me…
But there are times when I have found myself in a standoff with God, on behalf of the people suffering.
A mental standoff. A one-sided standoff.
I have seen evil or suffering, such as a friend losing a child, and I have drawn a line in the sand, daring God to allow one more terrible thing to happen…mentally telling him that if he does, then I will…I will…well, I don’t know what I will. But I have erected a wall between us nonetheless. I understand that feeling. It makes sense to me.
What if the evil happened to you personally? Okay, that’s a million times more complicated. But maybe, just maybe the issue is the same.
Because here’s what I’m afraid of:
I am afraid that some people will never even try to see God because of the evil in the world.
I am afraid of this, because I know that feeling. That feeling is pretty powerful.
When you feel like that, it appears that God is doing (at best) nothing to prevent the evil in the world, or (at worst) causing it. Or, a third option, that he is nonexistent.
And when all of these questions can’t be answered, if you are in a standoff, you miss having any questions answered.
Questions like: is there a creator at all? Someone who made me as a unique individual? Is there something bigger than me and what I see going on? Do I have value and a purpose?
We really want to know the answers to the "evil" questions before we take the risk to find out the other "personal" questions. We want every answer before we wade in at all. I think I know why we are afraid to reverse the order; it's completely counterintuitive. It seems scary or even ridiculous, but maybe it is worth the risk.
Here’s the thing…
No one has asked us to take that stand against God on their behalf. It is hard to tell what it even accomplishes. In my worst times of anger and confusion at evil in the world, I finally just started saying (out from under the puppies), “God, if you are real and if you are good, you need to show me. I don’t have much to go on.”
Slowly, slowly he did begin to show me.
I guess there’s a certain amount of faith already involved in my addressing him. But it's how it happened, and I can only tell my story. However, I believe that anyone who asks that question sincerely and patiently (and maybe a little desperately) will get an answer.
Then again, what do I know?
I know kitten piles are way scratchier than puppy ones.But they're both more cuddly than Chris' pointy elbows.