This is something I wouldn’t have even dared to dream of doing. If anyone had told me they were going to do this – I would have begged, bullied and/or blackmailed the person not to do so. This was betrayal, sacrilege, and in complete defiance of everything my life was built on these last 26-27 years. But, yes, I give up. On Faith, on God.
Born and raised in a family that upheld evangelism, I didn’t really have those miraculous encounters with God that many Christians share about. I was a regular Christian, with abundant faith in God and religion was the way of life. A childhood filled to the brim with Sunday school songs and memory verses, an adolescence preaching in cell groups about the need for salvation, a youth striving to constantly keep up the “testimonial life”, and a womanhood struggling every single day between waiting on the promises and self sufficiency. But God was good to me. I had a roof above my head, good food on my plate, family, friends, and all those “material blessings”. I was chosen and favoured. Yeah, of course, it was such a pity my neighbours were neither chosen nor favoured. But I was. My life had been good. I was not sick. I did not have debts. I did a little bit of service to the community. God had planned and crafted my life so beautifully. So far, So good.
Then suddenly, someday, you have one of those down-times and you want to turn back and see for yourself how the footprints in your sands have been. And you realize that it has always been just one set. But they are your size. So, you wonder whether God really did travel with you through your ‘Voyage of Life’ like you have been believing all this long. You think, you try to reason, you shoo away satan, you pray, you ask God to talk to you about your doubts, and you think about this so very much. And then you reach this place – the place that I am currently at. (as disputable as that dangling preposition)
I have believed that God has me drawn up on His palm, that I was the apple of his eye and all that. But occasionally, I have needed reassurances. A word, a sign, a dream, a hem, the backparts. Did they come? No. But I taught myself to choose to believe that God was there. I believed God was in control of the whole world. Perhaps, to me “the whole world” was just about me, my family, my friends, my church. And God was a vital part of everyone in that world. It was easy to believe that God was watching over, and taking care. Because I didn’t need to doubt. Because I had to trust that He was there. And if I doubted, it would hurt God so much. No, I wouldn’t do that. I cannot question God.
Maybe for me, the saddest phases of life were when I dwelt upon my pimples, lack of cooking skills, and menstrual cramps. Those were my miseries. And ironically, that made it only easier for me to trust God. I didn’t need a miracle. Life was pretty nice to me already. And I believe that God made it that way. God loved me so much. He took care of me. He had blessed me very much. I was saved and I would kinda make it to heaven coz I hadn’t intentionally harmed anyone. All I had to do was to be thankful to Him for that.
I was happy about the hand of God in my life when I got a window seat in a crowded bus. About God’s way of showing his love when I discovered that small shop that served excellent enchiladas. About God’s blessing on me when I was at the giving end of alms to that homeless old woman. How God cared so much about me that He didn’t let me go begging like the poor blind man I see on the train. How God fashioned me in his own image, and didn’t let me go crawling on the platform like that dirty, unbelieving lame.
Hmmm. But, what happens to those people? Those people who do not have so much to be thankful for? What does life mean to them? Why is my loving, compassionate God not the same to them?
Because they are unbelieving? But I kinda started believing only because God chose to put me in my family, right? Because they have sinned? But then I can’t boast about my life either. I might sinned far worse. Because God has not chosen them? But I thought God was supposed to be impartial and just!
A few houses away from mine, there is a family. There are 2 kids in the family – aged 11 & 9. Both the kids are physically challenged. I go to their house very occasionally, and I can’t ever return without crying. Why? Why would a loving God let those kids suffer so much pain? The other kids in school make fun of them. The parents are very poor. They work 12-13 hours a day for meagre wages. I have asked God so many times why He did not choose to save them? It was God who created the kids, God who put them in their mother’s womb, God who let them be born and raised non-christians, and God will not have them in heaven nor “show them wonderful and marvelous things” coz the kids didn’t believe in Him? That God would let the parents live in despair every single day because He, God, chose to let them live poor kinda worries me. I don’t know. I don’t understand. But I can only bite my lips and wonder if God is really up there watching.
It makes me wonder why my God, who I had believed to be a benefactor, a compassionate, loving and a most merciful savior, could let masses of weak and poor women be raped in Sri Lanka. How could he spend his time in talking to me through beautiful sunsets while starving infants are crying out in hunger? Why does he be choose to be present in a Sunday Praise & worship session and not be there where innocent, poor, helpless civilians get their heads blown off on the other side of the world? WHY?
Because it is God’s will? Because I don’t see the big picture? Because in the grand scheme of things these are negligible? Because I am saved and those people are not? Well, who put them there in the first place? God did, didn’t He? And if God has built the heaven on principles like these, I am not sure I want to go there even.
I have questions, many many questions. And when I begin to ponder on them, I start crying. It makes me sad, it makes me angry, it makes me want to yell, it makes me cry.
Maybe I am not betraying God. Maybe He betrayed me. Maybe He was never there.