Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Question About Faith, and then an Answer

I wonder, now that I am feeling better, if faith is easier when I am sick. When I was so ill, I was constantly reminded of my need and there were few other distractions from lying quiet with God.

I’m not dumb like when I was younger to pray that God make me sick or bring hard times if it will make my faith stronger. We used to toss around so cavalierly prayers like ‘break me, God!’ Instead I pray that somehow God teach me faith through wellness. I pray he teach me faith through gentle and good and happy days. Sure the Israelites were always at their most earnest when they were being oppressed, but please God, can there be a faith that blossoms too in prosperity and joy? I would like for that season to stay awhile.

Then really, I wonder again if prayers matter at all, if they change anything. Good and bad times will come on me either way, no matter what I pray. And even if tomorrow manages to be a happy one where I remember God all through the hours, it doesn’t mean hard times will disappear. They’ll come back, the unfortunate side effect of being human. Old age at least will make sure of it, and probably a thousand other beat-downs from life before then.

Instead, I should remember my Buddhism. Tomorrow might be good or it might be bad. It does not matter if I want it one way or the other. In fact, the wanting might just make me miserable in the here and now.

But still, my initial worry is this: I don’t want to be faithless in the good times. I forget so easily. I’m like the Israelites Moses led out of Egypt, seeing all those signs and wonders, and then a few weeks later complaining that all I have to eat is the same old boring bread and for God’s sake could we just get some quail up in here?! I can still do so little, but I fill my time and energy and mind with all the things I’ve been wanting to do to the exclusion of all else. I forget God for half a day at a time, a day, two days, and do not think once of prayer. I worry it will stretch to weeks and then months.

I wonder, what does God want from me? What does being faithful mean? Is ‘pray without ceasing’ literal? Is it humanly possible? Because I want to count the day as pass or fail.

Oh Heather, silly girl, listen again to the wise men. That is all to do with ‘me’. My twisty squirrel mind obsessing about this ‘self.’ The Buddhists say to live now in this moment, and God too says do not worry about tomorrow. My worry over my future faithlessness seems valid to me, but maybe all it does is separate me from God now.

God here right now fulfilling his promise that he is with me. Here on these couch cushions that are bent around my shape, the low vibration of trucks on the highway below, the ache of my bruised tired eyes, the empty sensation in my stomach, the biting of the underwire in my bra, this moment in the dark, typing with my eyes closed, the gentle tension of fingers pressing memorized laptop keys, the moment of pausing with each of my senses and wondering what else there is to discover here while simultaneously mediating the moment through words. And smiling at myself, because right now the two are so close, which is rare, that my mediating the moment is still actually the moment.

And here I stop and pause, because for a moment I’ve managed to catch the hummingbird answer and hold it still. Now. Here. Being still. With God. It’s everything. It’s all that matters.


  1. You've pretty much covered all the bases, lady! These are things I wonder, too. I've just read A PLACE FOR WEAKNESS, by Michael Horton, which addresses suffering. Good for for thought for me.

  2. Oo, that books sounds like something I'd like to check out. Thanks Caroline!

  3. Thanks for you sharing, the God with us, everything will be ok! Mydiablo 3 gold store