Q&A: How can I place my faith in a God who continues to let such terrible things happen?
Q: Last week, a version of this question appeared in my Facebook group: How can I place my faith in a God who continues to let such terrible things happen?
Here’s my A: To respond to this question (and the feelings out of which it arose), I’d like to expand our idea of what ‘God’ is and bring some of our assumptions around faith into inquiry.
For example, we might question the assumption that God (or any divine being) takes sides in our conflicts. We might question the assumption that God should fight actions that we (in our human mind) consider wrong or evil.
When God is a kingly, protective masculine who watches over us, we tend to give ‘him’ authority over us – and when things go wrong, we tend to feel abandoned by ‘him’ – or even blame him.
Yet, when we expand our image of the Divine, we begin to understand that God is not a father on a throne but is rather, a non-gendered ordering principle.
We begin to see that God/Goddess (Divinity) is not a person but a presence. An everywhere, everything all at once that’s responsive and reflective, generous and supportive.
This Divine is ALWAYS supportive – no matter the vision we hold. If we hold a vision of love and sacredness, that is the world this kind of Divine will support. If we hold a vision of fear and suffering, that is the kind of world this Divine will support.
Seeing that our vision helps guide the Divine’s response to us makes us a part of the story. The story that we’re living personally – and the story that we are watching on TV.
This can be frightening at first. If no ‘one’ is in charge, then we are on our own. But that is the farthest thing from the truth, which is so wide and deep that, from our small minded perspective, it can be hard to see.
This truth, as stated by all spiritual masters from gurus to avatars – including the actual teachings of Jesus, the Buddha and the gurus of India – is that there is One in charge – only One.
And that One is you/me/all of us/everything/One Universe.When we begin to grasp this truth, small mind melts away – and powerlessness softens because we see our part in helping co-create the world in which we live.
When we are a part of the world, we perceive events in our human news cycle quite differently.
We notice our assumptions about how Divine intervention should save us. We expand our sense of response-ability. We begin to understand that, often, our response to sad or terrible things in the news is the rising of the Divine IN US.
Our despair becomes calling. Our fear becomes outrage. Our powerlessness becomes empowerment. How? By reclaiming authority from the ‘king on a throne’ and placing it where it has always been: in our own hearts.
When we are shocked by another terrible story on the news, we can begin to realize: these things will happen until the human community that causes them responds to its own authority over them.
When we respond to the calling of the rising within our own hearts – and we begin to respond from the truth of what we are, a reflection of the Divine on earth.