8th July, 2012 Readings: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Doubt is a concept that is familiar to us all. In our everyday lives, we doubt. We doubt if our efforts will pay off; we doubt the intentions of others; we doubt ourselves and our abilities. We doubt. And guess what, God was doubted and he doubted.
In this weekend’s gospel text, God’s credibility was put into question by his own Jewish people while preaching in the synagogue. “He was amazed at their lack of faith”, when he pointed out the irony in a prophet being shunned “only in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house” but accepted everywhere else.
However, the paradox lies in that without doubt, there can be no form of faith. Faith, in the words of Saint Augustine is “to believe in what we cannot see, and the reward of that faith is to see what you believe”. What strikes me in this week’s gospel is the inability of prophets to perform in miracles in vacuums of faith. Would those places not be most in need of miracles?
Expanding on Saint Augustine’s take on faith and relating it our own lives, parallels almost immediately become apparent. Personally, doubting is almost instinctive, 2nd nature to me – maybe even to the point of cynicism. I struggle with finding God in the everyday things. But I have come to realize, it is all a matter of perspective. After all, there are two sides to a coin.
From the moment I awake in the morning, I doubt the potential good that will come out of a long and arduous day in school and more studying after that. When instead, I could choose to believe that the mere presence of the sun shining brightly that morning, or birds chirping outside my window are blessings from God to kick start my day. The moment I leave the house, I doubt my mother can drive me quickly enough to school without being late. The simple, kinder alternative would be to accept the gift of my mother who has willingly volunteered to send me to school each day as a god-sent. In school, when I doubt my own abilities and how my future may pan out, I should instead trust in the plans that I know the Lord has for me.
What I have come to learn, is that faith is a choice. Every single day, we have to make a choice to find God. Often time, the loud booming voice does not shout out when we are praying, instead, God comes to us in a soft whisper, in ways we least expect. Yet, I urge you to find God in the little things – the bus arriving just as you arrive at the bus stop, a smile from a random stranger in school or at work, the stars in the night sky. God is everywhere – this I was once told as a child. His transience is but a treasure to us if we only open the very eyes he has blessed us with. Choose faith. Block out the doubt.
In the words of Saint Augustine (yes, again), “You have made us for Yourself, Oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” With the coexistence of faith and doubt in our everyday lives, it is not always easy to choose to believe in a God who is intangible, and one who escapes the human senses. The challenge then would clearly be, to state the obvious – have faith. When the going gets tough, I listen to Blessings by Laura Story, to help the tough get going. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOOFAaUGfRE&feature=related
(The lyrics are apt, so please listen to it. Plus I picked a video link with the lyrics on it too.)
What if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you’re near?
What if the trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?
And so, I urge you to choose faith, choose God, choose to see that goodness in all things come from God, choose inner peace in entrusting God and in surrender, choose to let God love you.