When faith isn’t enough


20 May 2015

Like everyone, I’ve had some hard times in my life. Almost twenty years ago was one of the hardest, when I found out that something pretty bad happened to a close family member.

Until then, I suppose I had thought that all things would work together for good in life, as Paul wrote in Romans 8:28. Although I felt very uncomfortable with the idea that God controlled everything (we have free will, after all) I had assumed that if terrible things occurred, there was a higher purpose involved. This was professed by others in my faith community who told anecdotes about God’s tapestry for our lives.

I couldn’t quite agree with this, but I resolved such issues with my faith through prayer, discussion with my spouse and others in my community, and with the benefit of wisdom from spiritual authors and mentors.

But more recently, I’ve experienced some more hard times. And during this period, I’ve felt increasingly isolated from God, my church, my parish and my faith. I see suffering, injustice and abuses of power in our world and our church is not different. My own current experience of parish community is not much different. And despite my efforts, I feel dismayed by and disconnected from almost everyone in my parish community.

I am jaded and disillusioned, and my faith is becoming hardened too. I often catch myself feeling that our existence is pointless when there is so much that is not right with the world or the Church. My efforts to make our planet or our community a better place are not even a ripple in the enormous sea of time and space.

My mentors are not here and God appears to be nowhere either. My only source of solace is my family and some friends in the wider Church community. A significant factor in their comfort is their acceptance of my situation; they accept the injustice and faultiness of the world and our Church and have not tried to convince me of faith.

But perhaps this is an instruction for me. God also accepts me where I am and loves; God knows the world is fallen and loves; God knows the Church is broken and loves. And this includes feeling the pain of it all but still choosing to love.

So my prayer today is:
Thank you for loving me, and feeling my pain with me.
Thank you for loving the world, and feeling the agony of all those in it.
Thank you for loving the church, and feeling the suffering of all those broken by it.
Help me to love better, and help me to feel the pain of others.

Frances Morton is a writer and amateur theologian.
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