Sunday, July 18, 2010
Hide-and-Seek with God. Sunday, July 18, 2010.
“Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.” – Mother Teresa
Last year, when her biography was released, the world was shocked to hear that Mother Teresa – who had spent her life bringing the love of God to some of the poorest people in the world – had, for many years, suffered a crisis of faith. There were times, she admitted, that she doubted the existence of heaven, and even of God.
Many spiritual leaders refer to this as “the dark night of the soul.” Some believers never experience it, some question God for a time and then receive a message that removes all doubt. Others spend their lives wrestling with their faith.
For a time in my life, I was a member of a very rigid, judgmental belief system. When I chose to leave that path, I was plunged into my first “dark night.” I was afraid of God. I wished that he did not exist. I was envious of atheists, who didn’t worry about things like hellfire. I tried, very hard, not to believe.
But I discovered that for me, belief or non-belief was not a simple matter of choice, like picking the right meal off a menu. The harder I tried not to believe in God, the more he showed himself to me – in the beauty of nature, in the amazement I felt reading about physics, in the different expressions people gave to their practice of worship. I finally gave in: OK, God … you’re here. I can’t wish you away.
When my bipolar went out of control and I became terribly sick emotionally, I prayed and prayed that God would send me some relief. My prayers went unanswered for almost three months, and in desperation, I wound up in that motel room. Since then I found the right doctors and the combination of medications that help me at least be able to function.
People tell me that God did, in fact, answer my prayers, by allowing me to have the medicine. And they say God was in that motel room with me, because I survived what should have been a lethal attempt on my life.
But now, I have the opposite problem than I used to have. I’m trying to believe, trying to see and feel God, but I just can’t. He’s gone. When I pray, I sense that my prayers are just dissolving in the ethers. Where is he?
The spiritually learned tell me to be patient; that one day, I’ll come to understand God’s role in all of this, and that I’ll be able to trust in him again. I hope that day comes soon, because I really need him. In my game of hide-and-seek, he’s “it.”