“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
J.R.R.Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
The other day my daughter Lia hurried over to the kitchen table where my husband and I were enjoying our morning coffee. She handed me her cell phone saying, “Mom, please talk to Talia.” I had no idea what she was talking about and asked her why I had to talk to her friend. “You’ll see, Mom. Just talk to her.”
I took the phone from my daughter. “Hello, Talia (not her real name). Is everything OK?” I could hear her hesitation for a few seconds on the other end.
“Mrs. Varga, there can’t be a God,” she told me. “My dad is dying and now I may have torn my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). All these bad things are happening to me and my family. Why would God allow all these bad things to happen?”
Talia’s thinking is not uncommon. If an all-loving God exist, He would not allow bad things to happen. Bad things happen. Evil does exist. Therefore, there must be no God.
Understanding her frustration, I took a deep breath wanting to choose my words carefully. “Talia, I know you and your family are hurting right now. But just because bad things happen does not mean there isn’t a God. I know you are angry but I also know you don’t really believe there isn’t a God.”
I could tell Talia was holding back tears at this point and to be honest I wanted to cry right along with her.
“You can’t lose your faith,” I told her. “Without faith, what do you have? During times like this you need to hang on to your faith even more. God is all loving. God does not make bad things happen. He allows it but He does not create it.”
I can unequivocally say that my faith has carried me through tough, painful times in my life. But this same faith has also been challenged many times. It’s hard not to let your faith waiver under the pressure of all the immense suffering in this world. It’s hard not to let your trust in a Higher Power waiver when we are hurting and in pain. But it is in these times that we need to trust Him more. We need to tighten the grip of our faith, not loosen it.
Again, God is all loving. Love is our true essence and purpose. In order for us to experience this love, we must have free will. There must be choice in love. If we are not given a choice to love or not to love, then it’s not real. And unfortunately, with that choice and with that free will, comes pain and suffering.
Think about it for a moment. With the gift of life comes many trials and with those trials come many lessons. There is a lesson in every experience if we are willing to listen. Through hurt, pain and betrayal, we learn humility, patience, forgiveness, strength, compassion and acceptance.
I honestly don’t know if my words got through to Talia that morning but I wanted to share this story with all of you. I hope you will use it to remember in both good times and in bad to always keep the faith. The sun forever rises after the darkness of the night. And what a beautiful sight it is to witness the sunrise.