Some days when it feels that God is far from us we may begin to harbor a real doubt: Is there a God at all? Am I fooling myself giving time day after day to pray and nothing seems to happen?
Others who don’t believe at all do well, are happy and live life to the full. Not only that, everything seems to come their way whereas I can be beset with troubles of one kind or another.
“How is it,” a woman asked at a prayer meeting, “that though I really believe in God and pray to Him every day, my family is coming apart? And my neighbor, who never puts a foot inside the church, has everything going for her?”
This is a situation well known to the psalmist. “I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs, their bodies are sound and sleek. They are not stricken as other people. … People praise them and find no fault in them. And they say ‘How can God know?’ … All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been stricken, and chastened every morning…” (Ps 73).
We may feel like the psalmist, bitter over our fate especially when we see the pleasant life others have without God. But in the end the man recovered his balance and in an act of great faith he understood that, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
We too, deep in our hearts know that this is the truth; like a homing pigeon we keep coming back to God. “For God alone my soul waits in silence, my hope is from Him.” (Ps 62).
We will find strength and hope in these psalms, the inspired word of God, in time of bleakness, time of doubt. No matter how dreadful, how painful our situation the Lord really is with us. “Trust Him and He will act.” (Ps 37) Leave it to God and in the meantime pay attention to those little moments of grace which come gently throughout your day. The very gentleness of the Holy Spirit in our lives may not be noticed at all unless we make a habit of naming the good things that come our way. Little things mostly, like small brush strokes, but full of blessings. To note these and to give thanks is to deepen our faith and our relationship with God.
God is found, as St Teresa of Avila said, “among the pots and pans.” No need to go looking for him in “special” places; He is by your side. We can take each task, no matter how uncongenial, as an opportunity to say “Yes” to God in our lives.
Columban Sr Redempta Twomey is the Congregational Archivist for the Columban Sisters in Ireland.