My God Sucks

            My God fails me every day.  Every time I expect something to happen and have faith that things will go my way, they don’t.  My God never fails to fail me.  If we are truly honest with ourselves I would imagine that we all have the same experience.  Whenever I count on my God to deliver me from some sort of suffering or to give me something that I want and maybe even think I need, I can pretty much rely on the fact that my God will not provide.

Am I down on God?  No way!  I have gotten used to it and come to even expect it.  Why?  Notice that I said it was my God who fails me.  What else could I expect?  If I am going to create God in my own image and develop an idea of God that is not real, then I should plan on being disappointed.   There are so many things in life that we create attachments to such as a cold drink on a hot day, a good day at work, a smooth traffic-less commute, a call from the HR person where we interviewed for a job, and so on.  More often than not, we throw “up” a prayer to God to let us have what we want.  When this wish does not come to fruition we get frustrated and assume that God is letting us down once again.  It’s an amazing thing that along with the mundane parts of life that we could create attachments even when it comes to God.

When God lets us down enough times we start to develop a view of God that tells us that the Divine is uncaring, or even worse – malicious.  It occurs to us that God may not have our best interests at heart and is not even concerned with our well-being.  If we stop and think, however, it becomes apparent that this God who constantly “lets us down” is a God of our own creation.  Money.  Cars.  Houses.  Status symbols.  Even health.  They all become attachments that we create and equate with happiness and well-being.  Let us picture in our minds even for a moment how our lives would be if we did not have so many things that we “had” to have in order to enjoy life.  Imagine if we were just satisfied to have our daily bread.  Wouldn’t at least half of our suffering and discomfort disappear without those unnecessary attachments?   This seems to be what the contemplative Trappist monk Thomas Merton discovered when he penned these words:

“For I knew that it was only by leaving [my attachments] that I could come to You: and that is why I have been so unhappy when You                   seemed to be condemning me to remain in them.  Now my sorrow is over and my joy is about to begin: the joy that rejoices in the deepest    sorrows.  For I am beginning to understand.  You have taught me and consoled me, and I have begun again to hope and learn.”

I would like to propose another way of approaching God.  How about we just let God be God?  Not the God that we create in our minds, but instead the God that actually is.  Perhaps God is not the personage that grants magic wishes that we have made God out to be, but rather is the ever-present solace within us that reassures us that regardless of what the outcome is, we are going to be ok.  There is no question that it is extremely uncomfortable and sometimes almost painful to sit and wait for the response to a job interview or the outcome of a doctor’s visit.  It is much easier to beg God to deliver us from our tension and give us the answer that we seek.  Unfortunately, although there are prayers that are somehow answered, it seems apparent that God does not always work that way.  Instead, we are reassured that God dwells with us and in spite of the wait or even the bad news, God will never leave us nor forsake us.  Perhaps that is why the scripture does not say that we should understand God, but instead, to “Be still and know that I am God.”

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