Thursday, September 6, 2007

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

As an Orthodox Christian, I have read and listened to non-Christians who have read the letters of Mother Theresa and have come to the conclusion that they somehow demonstrate that God does not exist. For those looking for reasons not to believe these letters provide a convenient place to hang their hats, only because the Christian faith is so foreign to them. The non-believer approaches God and faith by logic, if it doesn’t make sense then it must not be real. Rather than being created in God’s image, they have created God in their image.

Anyone familiar with the life of Christ and His teachings recognizes the suffering that he endured and predicted that those who followed Him would also endure. In an effort to fill the pews of the modern Church, the true message of Christ has been replaced by this “easy Gospel”. The true nature of Christianity is replaced with this sanitized version of happy days. According to the Gospel of Jesus, it is written, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.”
[1] This doesn’t sound easy to me. Why God would require suffering from those whom He loves is beyond my comprehension. I know this though, when I surrender my life to God, I gave up my why. I no longer get to ask God why me, why this, and why now.

What the average person, the non-believer, and those who are accustomed to the easy gospel doesn’t understand is that despite all of her doubts and feelings of abandonment she continued to serve and to seek God. At no time did she reveal a desire to stop seeking the One who had called her; she remained faithful in her service to the end. If being a saint was easy, we’d all be one. It’s amazing how modern man can be loyal to a team, a job, or another man, but speak of loyalty to God and the room clears. We will be loyal to our beliefs about God, but not to God.

The thing I have found in the letters that I have read is a profound sense of desperation to know God, not to know about Him but to know Him personally. It was in that desperation that God used her to provide for those that no one else cared for, the forgotten, the untouchables. It has always amazed me when studying the Church saints how so many of them never realized the work God was doing in their lives. To them it was just everyday common things and that’s how God works. He doesn’t use the majestic; He uses the simplest of people and things.

So many times the Christian wants to obey God in the mighty works, but not in the common things of life. Will I continue to obey in the common things of the day? Will I continue to obey when everyone and everything has deserted me even you my God? These are the questions that we as Christians must ask ourselves. I never try to prove anything to anyone, especially non-believers because to them it is foolishness, but to us it is the power of God.

There will always be those seeking after signs and there will be none given. If you need a sign you will never believe, because you will always require a larger and larger sign. It is like going to the movies, we always want to see more. I remember when the first Star Wars came out; I thought those were the best special effects ever. You look at them today and they appear amateurish in comparison. I guess it’s just human nature to want more. Those who believe will never need a sign because that’s not why they believe. We believe because, just as Mother Theresa knew deep inside, that He is there despite all evidence to the contrary. God has used the simple things of this world to confound the wise. The simplicity of a poor peasant girl to pour out rivers of life to the weak and the suffering, only God could have made that happen.

The beautiful thing about God is that even the non-believers are blessed by His work and they don’t even know it or recognize it. The little bit of love and goodness in this world would be gone without God. Could you imagine how bad this world would really be without those like Mother Theresa, who despite her doubts continued to serve? I know for me it is simple. I would rather believe in a dream (that God exists) than what I know is a lie (that I am God). Remember, faith the size of a mustard seed is all that is required to move mountains. So, the next time someone talks to you about the pain of Mother Theresa, you talk about her truth and her obedience. Obedience is better than sacrifice.

[1] Matthew 16:24

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