Sometimes it is hard to believe in God. There are nights where I wonder if my faith, and my religion are not just some grand communal delusion, an opiate of the masses as Marx would say. I have toyed with the possibility that the stories of Christianity are simply a shared story that makes this difficult life more manageable, more hopeful. I have wondered if the God I have submitted myself to is indeed kind, or is it possible that He is cruel? Have you ever asked yourself these questions?
The day Jonah died my faith wavered. I found myself asking "who is God?" There was so much pain in my heart that it was hard to find a good answer. C.S. Lewis says "You can't see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears."
It wasn't until the sharpness of the pain had subsided that I could see and remember the goodness of God. I began to think about the day Jonah was born. It was an amazing day. I remember starring into his dark eyes and wondering where his soul came from. I knew that his body had grown and developed inside me. But the spirit that gave life to his body was not my creation. I knew, deeply, that God was the father of Jonah's soul, and that he was a gift to me. On July 14, I believed that God was infinitely good.
I realize now that in order to deny the goodness of God, I would have to deny the incredible feeling I had the day Jonah was born. I cannot. The feeling was too strong. My life has been sprinkled with small moments of clarity like this one, moments when truth seemed to settle in my soul and become knowledge. I have come to believe God is like any good parent. He knows the path of least resistance rarely creates strength and understanding in children. I do not believe he throws obstacles in our way, but sometimes he lets us struggle and experience difficult things. He knows that we learn when our souls are challenged, when our hearts are broken, and he would not deny us that experience.
And yet he also knows our pain, and is compassionate. The other night as I tried to fall asleep, tears flooding my eyes and pain in my heart, it was almost as if someone whispered to me "Be at peace. There is so much to look forward to...your life will be beautiful." I felt the goodness of God fill my heart, and the truth of His words found place in my soul again.