I recently had a conversation with a colleague who was expressing her anxiety about having not secured a job for next year. I carelessly told her to just trust in God but before I could finish my sentence, I changed my conversation and asked her if she actually believed in God. To my surprise, her response was no. Well then, how can she put her faith in someone or something she does not believe in?
She further explained that when her grandparents died, she did not understand how a God that apparently loves her would just take her grandparents away. Now the old Christian me would have tried to justify this situation so that God does not look like the bad guy here. “Bad things happen to all of us, believers or not.” “When bad things happen, isn’t God the one who brings you comfort?’’ How insensitive that would have been. So often as Christians, when we encounter such situations, we fail to acknowledge and understand the person’s feelings and jump to rescue God’s reputation first.
Is it possible to love God and dislike Him at the same time? To believe in Him and doubt Him at the same time? To be secure in His love but doubt his love at the same time? To know that He works for your good but question His motives at the same time? Absolutely yes! I believe it is possible because I have experienced these emotions one too many times in my Christian journey.
When I was young and found out that my father, the love of my life, had just been sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment, I found myself in a place where I did not like God very much. Why would He do that to my father? To my family? To me? When my mom was brutally attacked and hurt, God had the power to protect her from this life-traumatising encounter but He still allowed it to happen. He had the power to stop it if He wanted to right? He has the power to do whatever He wants. So why was this power not exercised in these situations? I found myself in a very confused place. I loved and believed in God with all of my heart but I could not understand (for the life of me) why He would allow something like this to happen, especially when He loves me unconditionally.
With my dad, I got to learn as I grew up that it was simply the consequences of his actions and with me being his daughter, I was affected by it. With my mom, I never got to understand why she had to endure what she endured and at times even now I still question God about it. Yes I am grateful that the men who tried to kill her ran out of bullets and failed (that is God showing himself right there). I could have grown up without a mother at all. But I also do not understand why this had to happen in the first place. Especially when God had the power to not allow it. I still do not have all the answers that I want.
With all this being said, do I love God any less? NO. I love God with all my heart even with these questions in my mind. Does God love me any less? NO. Even with all this doubt and blame that I sometimes shift at Him, God has come through for me in ways I could have never imagined. God has shown His unconditional love for me in ways that have assured me that I am loved unconditionally. Because His love does not depend on my feelings. His love is unwavered by me, His love is constant and His love is real. No matter what.
It is very much possible to feel disappointed by God and still love Him. Next time someone expresses their disappointment in God, instead of trying to jump to God’s rescue and judging first, let us be understanding and loving first. They may be disappointed in God at that moment but that does not necessarily mean they do not believe or they outright hate God. Let them feel what they feel and let them feel God’s love through your understanding and unconditional love for them.