My posts over the last several weeks addressed Myths that singles must resist. In the first post of the series, I set the stage for the remaining 7 posts. I addressed Myth #1 two weeks ago and today I will address Myth #2: God has forgotten about me.
Myth #2 will be the most difficult because I do not have all the answers. I am not a theologian or a philosopher. But, I am intimately familiar with feelings of being forgotten by God.“Why do you complain, O Jacob, And you, O Israel, why do you say, “My plight is hidden from the LORD, and my cause has passed out of God’s notice”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
The verse from Isaiah above reveals that His people have always dealt with this feeling of “passing out of God’s notice.” When you are single well beyond your hoped-to-be-married time, it can feel as if you have passed out of God’s notice.
In order to tackle this myth, we must first ask some very philosophical questions: Is God real? Who is God? What is our purpose?
These questions will be tackled in three parts. Each part will be progressively more difficult to explain and accept. I will discuss number one and two this week and conclude with number three next week.
- Pascal’s Wager
- Distant or Intimate? Chaos or Order?
- A Perspective on Suffering
“In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.”
In order to answer the question “Does God forget about us?”, we must first establish that He exists. Pascal’s wager, simply stated in my non-philosophical way, teaches us that if God does exist, then it benefits us to live our life in friendship with Him. Because if He does exist and we live our life as if He doesn’t exist, then we have a lot to lose; namely Heaven. And, we have something to fear, namely the pains of Hell.
If, on the other hand, God doesn’t exist and we live our life as if He does, then we have nothing to lose. We just die and our soulless bodies rot after living a life of trying earnestly to not harm ourselves or our neighbor.
So, logically it makes sense for us to live as if and wager that He does exist. Unless we can be 100% sure that He does not exist…..which we can’t.
Once we make the logical wager that He does exist, then we must ask ourselves Who He is? Is He a distant God or an intimate God? Is He a God of chaos or a God of order?
Distant or Intimate?
“What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”
To be honest, I grew up with the notion that God was a distant keeper of rules. It has only been over time that I see His intimate love and involvement in my life.
Maybe becoming a parent has helped me with this renewed vision of God. Once you have a child, you begin to understand God a little more. You understand the strong feelings of love, protectiveness and potential heartbreak. You begin to understand the difficulty of training and disciplining a child and then allowing for the gift of free will to manifest itself in that child’s life.
It is similar to, I think, how God parents us. First, He trains us. Then, He gives us the long leash of free will. While we are in training, He can feel a little like a taskmaster. While we wonder away on our long leash, He can feel distant. But, His love, protectiveness and attachment to outcome are constant. He allows us to break His heart.
I always heard people say “God loves you!” and I would silently say to myself, “So what? He loves everyone. I am not special to Him.” Ouch. That was hard to admit. But, I think I was putting human limits on God. He is not like a parent who has to divide His time and attention between His children. There is infinitely enough of Him to go around. He can ‘pay attention’ to me and the rest of the gazillion humans He created, all at the same time. And, He does not have ‘favorites.’ We are all equally favored by Him. I don’t know how He does it. He is God. He is all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful.
So, let’s conclude He is real and He is intimate and you have His attention. Just how involved is He in the details?
Chaos or Order?
This part is hard to prove or explain because sin produces chaos in our life and in the world. And, our finite minds cannot fathom the ways of our Lord. But, when I look at the Old Testament and at the design of the universe and our bodies, I see a God of order. When I look at salvation history, I see a God that allows for our free will and allows for chaos but somehow brings order and goodness out of it all. Again, how He does it, I do not know.
Our part in the order of things is critical. That is why Chastity is so important. Unchaste behavior is morally disordered and adds to the chaos.
“Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.” (CCC 2351)
The Fall of Man has brought chaos and disorder into the world but you can avoid adding to it by living a chaste life.
Morally disordered unchaste behavior also leads you into darkness. This darkness and confusion can convince you that God has forgotten about you. It can convince you that life’s events are random. But they are not. God can bring order out of chaos. You are not left to your own devices.
God is real. He is intimate. He is mysterious. He has not forgotten about you. Your cause is not hidden from Him.
There is a plan for your life. And, it will involve….suffering.
** Next week: I will conclude this myth with Part 2: A Perspective on Suffering
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