Wednesday, October 3, 2018

"Where is God?" Love and the Obscurity of Faith

The obscurity of faith is a special challenge for Christians.

This can really "hit home" in our lives when our trust in God is "stretched" (even to depths beyond the reach of natural psychology) by the experience of great trials.

Where is God in the awful grief of losing a loved one, the pain and humiliation of illness, the frustration of worthy goals? Where is God in all the failures of our lives (and we fail so much more often than we succeed), or when we try to do good and are thwarted by obstacles beyond our capacity to overcome?

Sometimes in our lives, in our journey toward God, He seems to "disappear." We seek Him in prayer and there is only silence. We beg for His help, but we continue to be crushed and crushed and overwhelmingly crushed. "Where are you, my God?"

In these times, a faith that hopes in God and loves God even through all this terrible, painful obscurity--that holds on to God alone and trusts in Him--enables us to go forward.

Even when circumstances are shrouded in darkness, we believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world. This affirmation is concrete and personal to a vital Christian faith. The Lord leads us through the darkest of dark valleys; He leads us and accompanies us even (and especially) when we feel lost and alone.

The life of faith brings consolation, certainly, because God enters into a relationship with us. He is our loving Father, and all of reality abounds in signs, which are really gestures of His steadfast love and tenderness for each one of us. But the fullness of His love is the giving of His only Son to die for us so that we might rise to eternal life in Him.

Our faith strengthens us especially when we endure suffering, as we look to Christ crucified and suffer in union with Him. Suffering (in ourselves and also "with others"--com-passion) is an aspect of the personal path that each of us is called to walk with Jesus.

He is our light in the darkness. He transforms suffering into love--into His love, and He invites us to share in this love, the inscrutable inexhaustible suffering love from the Cross that saves the world.

By enduring the Cross with Him, we become more like Him. We grow in the likeness of the God who is Absolute, Infinite Love.