|Photo Credit: Timothy Patrick Carney|
Although I admire the beauty of the above photo, my first reaction to the caption was, this is not always true; it does not always happen! Maybe it’s true for others but not to everyone. Why are there so many cancer patients who love the Lord, prayed so hard, yet later died in anguish without being miraculously cured? Why are there so many unanswered prayers if God will make a way where there seems to be no way? Perhaps my uneasy feeling about the photo’s description was due to my recent quest to find answers to ease my ‘emotional’ doubt on the existence of God. It is not intellectual, rather an emotional doubt representing what I feel rather than what I believe and reason out to be true.
In my quest for answers, I began to explore what makes people disappointed with God. With that, disappointment with God emanates from what one believes but does not have any raw experience to back it up. This means, there is a gap between what we believe about God and what we actually experience. For others, they believe that God is powerful, yet in their experience don’t see any tangible or visible display of God’s omnipotence. For some, they know God is love, but they continually experience emotional and physical suffering--even a tragedy. The danger of disappointment lies behind every unmet expectation from the divine. In his book, Disappointment with God, Philip Yancey writes, “I found that for many people there is a large gap between what they expect from their Christian faith and what they actually experience.” Then Yancey mentioned a letter he had received from a woman, and I quote: “I kept hearing the phrase ‘relationship with Jesus Christ.’ But I found to my dismay that it is unlike any other personal relationship. I never saw God, or heard from him, or felt him, or experienced the most basic ingredients of relationship. Either something wrong with what I was told or there’s something wrong with me.” In different ways, perhaps, we can identify with the lady’s honest confession.
Meanwhile, I continue to reflect about the problem of pain, injustice, and the misery of human suffering. Intellectually, I know God is love and that Jesus cares, I really do, but emotionally, such description of love and relationship is found wanting. “Disappointment occurs”, writes Yancey, “when the actual experience of something falls far short of what we anticipate.”
|...."I came to a pause on the road of my own spiritual pilgrimage to see the footprints of others in the sands of time."|
After reading several stories of devoted Christians who had died in tragic accidents or from incurable diseases, I came to a pause on the road of my own pilgrimage to see the footprints of others in the sands of time. Without fear of being misunderstood, when it comes to suffering and pain, even the most devout believer are not exempt from suffering, pain, and even tragic death.