“I do not know how to continue. I’m losing hope. I still do things I shouldn’t and I feel as if God left me. I cannot see God nor feel Him. How do you do it? How do you continue?”
Every time someone asks me this question, I panic. I was faced with this question many times during the past years, and every time people ask me this, I simply tell them the truth (well, after panicking for a while and asking God what to do): that I was feeling the same thing. The only difference is that I kept on believing that our God is true and that He is constant.
Often times people thought that I am burning with faith and love and kindness. They thought I was always happy, without any bit of a problem, that I have nothing on my back to burden me. But let me tell you the truth: I am burdened, and it was I who burden me, and as ridiculous as it sounds, one of the greatest enemies we may have is ourselves. Yes, this is true. Most of the times, I am ashamed of myself, disgusted even. I did things that make me want to hide inside a cave and live there for the next thousand years. My attitude is also filled with flaws. I am impatient to a fault; I do not get angry often, but when I do, people would not recognize me at all. My own thoughts during the night plague me, preying on the prayers I should have been whispering instead. In fact, I always think of myself as a quite complex character in a novel- the one you cannot predict, the one you are confused whether he is the hero or the villain. And all these things cause me to lose hope on myself and lose faith on God, doubting whether He would ever forgive me. And so sometimes, when people ask me how I continue, I stay silent for a while (panicking deep inside), thinking it would be hypocritical of me to tell them it was easy- as if it was just a procedure on how to make pancakes.
And so again, I tell them the truth: I feel the same.
But then, this statement is always followed by a fact God always reminded me with. This fact, whenever I was reminded of it, gives me the peace of mind and of the heart that made me realize the folly of my anxiety. It was this fact, so extraordinary in its existence that makes everything so different: God is constant. And our sins are flecks of dust He blows away. Do not put God in a box. He is greater than our sins, greater than the sorrow we feel, the financial problems we encounter, the deterioration of health, the death of a loved one. He is greater than us.
And so when asked how I continue, I now say: I feel the same, but I collect crumbles of faith wherever I go. I try to see God in the little good things I encounter everyday. Children playing in the rain, strangers smiling to greet you, a safe ride on a bus, a simple Bible verse on a jeepney, good food, lots of books, a family to go home to, true friends to help you, our talents, simple things to remind us that God is good, and that He is constant in a world full of flaws and sinful people.
And always, I tell them of a passage in the Bible that is always in my heart and in my mind whenever I lose faith.
Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon
And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain,’Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:14-20)
We can move mountains through the power of God, so let us continue to pick up crumbles of faith wherever we go and see how these pieces will bring about great blessings coming from God.