Suffering and Faith

(Full disclosure: I am a liberal Roman Catholic who believes that science and faith complement each other. I love Jesuits. My God does not discriminate.)

“How can you still believe in Him when you’re in pain all the time? After all that you’ve been through? Did you ever question God?”

I did. In fact, I had a period when I almost believed He abandoned me. Why did He let me be as sick as this? Why wasn’t He “healing” me? Why wasn’t He here when I am most in pain?

Subscribing to the principle of a faith seeking justice, I asked three priests on why God allows people to suffer. First was my confessor from sixth grade to senior year of high school, who knew a lot of my troubles including my first heartbreak. He replied that God is not a God of bad things.

Second was my college sophomore year confessor. I asked Him if God makes people suffer. He reminded me of what I learned from my Theology 103 class. God is not a God of vengeance. God is a God of mercy and compassion.

Lastly, I asked my recent confessor who I saw was slightly taken aback when I posted my question. He told me that God does not favor pain nor does He leave people who are in pain.

For awhile, I was lost. No book nor explanation comforted me.  It made me rethink of the reasons why I believed in a higher being and why I chose to believe in my God.

Then I remembered that in order to have faith, one needs to leap from reason. Scrambling my reasons for leaping, I remembered the picture showing the interaction between a beggar and a well-clothed man along a pedestrian bridge. In the beggar’s eyes, He saw Jesus approaching him. In the man’s point of view, he saw Jesus sitting and staring at him.

It was this memory of the picture that resurfaced my realization years ago: I leapt because I see Him in every person I meet and in every beauty. Whenever I see people choosing their humanity in every situation, I see Him.

Thus, when I looked back and reflected, I saw that I failed to recognize Him in my nurses, my doctors, my loved ones, my learners, my colleagues, and strangers who had been with me since the beginning. He never left me alone, not for a second. He healed me through the nights my boyfriend answered my midnight calls of anguish, every moment my parents held me as I battle an attack, and everytime someone makes an effort to be with me and make me happy. He had loved me in ways I needed to be loved.

I still don’t know why sufferings exist. I hope I’ll have an answer someday. But now, my conclusion is this: my God loves perfectly and the love that I know is nowhere near close.


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