It would be easy to see negative things that happen in life as some sort of punishment or bad luck. It would be easy to let myself become consumed by negative thoughts, but I choose to look at negative things in a different light. I will confess that I struggle with this quite often, but nearly always find a way to rein it in and re-focus on what I like to call a deeper meaning for it all. It takes an abundance of faith sometimes, but the challenge has its rewards.
When I look at a fish swimming in a small fish tank, I find myself wondering if it gets bored or feels trapped. I’ve been told that fish have an extremely short, short-term memory, so every time they turn around and head to the other end of the tank, it’s all new to them. I suppose this could be true. They don’t look stressed or bored, just very peaceful in their environment.
Humans have a much longer short term memory and require much more space and distractions. However, even humans have limits to what they can comprehend and we always put limits on everything to help with this comprehension. There’s always a beginning and an end, top and bottom, left and right. But when we try to wrap our (limited) brains around the vastness of outer space, we get a little boggled trying to find something to compare it to. “Light years” is the yardstick of the universe as we try to comprehend the very impossible task of traveling at the speed of light for millions of year to get somewhere.
So when it comes to God, it’s no different. We humans long to put physical attributes like a face or even a gender to an almighty entity that the vastness of outer space pales in comparison to. Why do we need tangible, measurable attributes to be able to accept or comprehend what God truly is? To imagine a ‘being’ that is, always has been, and always will be, creator of everything we know and believe, could actually be measured or quantified in ways we measure everything else?… well it’s an absurd concept to me!
We can no more fully understand what God is any more than the fish swimming in the small fish tank can understand us humans. Faith must be the yardstick we use to measure God. Faith without limits… Faith without boundaries… Blind faith. But is Faith taught, learned or a grace given to us by God? The answer is yes!
While it is human nature to want everything to make perfect sense in order to fully believe in it, to come close to understanding what God is, we need faith. Faith is the key to getting from this ethereal world into the next soul world. Faith can be ‘the back burner’ where we just chalk something we don’t fully understand up to faith and perhaps get back to it some day when we have grown more spiritually and can understand it better.
When we are toddlers, we learn to have faith in our parents. They tell us not to touch the hot stove because we will get hurt and (most of us) believe them without having to touch it. When we are driving down the highway and we cross a bridge, we have faith it will hold us and we will cross uneventfully. But there comes a time in everybody’s life when they begin to question what they believe in. We reach the age of reasoning.
My biggest awakening or shake up came when I was in my 40’s. Suddenly the prayers we Catholics all recited in unison at every mass became full of conflict for me. It seemed silly to me to pray to mother Mary for something, Saint Francis for another and so on. Weren’t we taught to take it all to Jesus or God? I could go off on this tangent for a few pages, but I’ll stop here and stay on point.
Questioning our faith is never a bad thing. Seeking answers to solidify our faith can never fail. God will answer any questions we may have! At some point, that little toddler may question his faith in what his mom said and reach out to touch the hot stove despite her warnings. We may question our choice of religion or church we go to. We may even question why certain events happened ‘to us’. I’m pretty sure the vast majority of cancer patients have thought or uttered the words ‘why me’? Same goes for someone who lost a limb, suffered through a natural disaster or lost someone close to them.
To the (limited) human being, these are all devastating things that we feel the need to make sense of. If we dig deep and think perhaps how God might have intended this for us, a reason can be found. No, it’s not a punishment, but rather a way of showing us a new perspective. Everything happens for a reason. Had my doctor not missed diagnosing my cancer 7 years ago, I wouldn’t have met and married my soulmate. Had I not gotten cancer, I wouldn’t have met and touched the lives of countless people. Had I not gotten cancer, my life wouldn’t be so blessed with some of the great people I’ve befriended. I wouldn’t enjoy the sunsets or a field full of fireflies as much as I do now. The list goes on and on!
Yes, it does suck having cancer when I look at it superficially, but when I look at the gifts it has brought to my life it becomes a blessing. Having cancer has brought me to a deeper level of faith and understanding that wasn’t possible before. I believe we humans need disasters or hardships to bring us to a deeper level of faith and understanding of just what God is. Adversity can bring us closer to God if we take the limits off of our boundaries of comprehension, lean on our faith and be still. With hearts full of love and blind faith the answers will come. The lessons reveled and the blessings bloom.
One of my favorite verses from a rock song:
“When you think all is forsaken, listen to me now. [all is not forsaken] You need never feel broken again. Sometimes darkness can show you the light” – ‘The light’ by Disturbed