vigil candles

I imagine God shaking that divine head when we have worries like this, thinking, “Ah, Child, of course you struggle with your faith when life is turned upside down, weighing heavily on you, or baffling you. But I see you, I never take my eyes off you. If only you knew how deep my faith in YOU is!”

To me it's not about “keeping the faith.” I think it’s really about our faith in some One. When something bad happens to us—a disappointment, an accident, a broken relationship or a job fiasco—we usually turn to the people who love us. Most of us have at least one person we would quickly call or text—a friend, a parent, spouse, or mentor. We don’t blame them for the problem, or wonder if they will be disappointed in us because the painful incident happened. We don’t lose our trust in them because this bad event befell us. No! We RUN to them for comfort or support. We usually don’t even need them to fix it. We just need them to listen to us because we know that they care what happens to us, and that our “suffering” matters to them. They, too, will feel the burden or sorrow we feel.

Somehow when it comes to faith and the struggles of life, we get into some strange ideas about God. When I give retreats I often say that we go around carrying “sad illusions” about who God is. Perhaps we need to look deeper at what we seem to believe. Do we secretly think that God has MADE these bad things happen to us? Do we sadly think God leaves us on our own in these dilemmas? Do we mistakenly suppose God is judging our performance in our times of greatest challenge or suffering? The faith Jesus came to show us and lead us to was not a big set of beliefs, it was a great invitation to come to know God as Jesus knew God, as “Abba."

You might ask, Where is God? when you or your family is crushed by sorrow, or left with a wounded heart. God is weeping with you, not judging, not keeping count or raising the bar. God keeps vigil with you in your darkest moments, holding the light nearby until you can see it again. IF God is love, and IF we believe that God loves us at LEAST as much as some human person, then we KNOW where God is when life is rough.

Let us lean back into that love, and not only keep the faith, but fall into the Arms of God, and draw strength and peace from God’s tender love that is at work leading us out of the darkness.