This is all kind of hard to describe, and I am a little concerned about painting a wrong picture. However, I will do my best to explain and hope that is adequate. I don’t want to either exaggerate or minimize the problem.
I want to emphasize that I really am at peace in the Father’s love and acceptance. There is nothing in me that believes that I must strive or perform for His approval or blessing. Maybe that is the point. As my understanding of Him has become more beautiful, my lack of trust becomes more incongruent with what I know to be true.
I no longer accept pat answers and formulas about faith and prayer. I do not think God needs me to exaggerate or reframe the facts to protect His image. The only thing I know to do in the face of unanswered prayer is to simply keep asking, knowing that intervention was never dependent on me. So, I haven’t quit asking, but I see that miraculous responses seem to be a rare exception. Perhaps the biggest change is that I gave up any illusion that I can somehow elicit the miraculous response.
The past year has been really difficult for me. Nothing in comparison to what others suffer, but there have been days I wondered if I could stand the pressure. I became more sarcastic and cynical (I know, shocking) which made it somewhat obvious that I was basically angry. The anger was rooted in the fact that I was overwhelmingly disappointed and frustrated. So much of my life seemed beyond my control, and there seemed to be nothing I could do to avoid the pain or change the circumstances.
The whisper of the enemy that I struggle with the most is, “You are on your own.” This plays itself out in many different ways in my life. In this case, when things get difficult, I grit my teeth and try to buck up. Aside from prayers thrown up for a change of circumstance, I have not leaned into God’s love or care because while my head knows that He is always with me, my heart believed that I was on my own.
That’s enough for today, and I will write one more post explaining how I am dealing with my unbelieving heart.
I’ll end with this quote from Richard Rohr:
I will offer you a simple litmus test to determine whether a person has healthy or unhealthy religion. What do they do with their pain—even their daily little disappointments? Do they transform their pain or do they transmit it?
We all have pain—it’s the human situation, we all carry it in a big black bag behind us and it gets heavier as we get older: by betrayals, rejections, disappointments, and wounds that are inflicted along the way. If we do not find some way to transform our pain, I can tell you with 100% certitude we will transmit it to those around us.
At the end of life, and probably early in life, too, the question is, “What do I do with this disappointment, with this absurdity, with this sadness?”