I recently came across some memes on Instagram in which a person, who seemed to be an atheist, blamed God for the poverty in the world. There were pictures of refuge kids and the caption read – “God’s Vacation Pics”. Another picture was of a few malnourished kids and the caption read – “God has the most amazing plans for you”. He claimed that God doesn’t exist, if He did then there shouldn’t be children suffering from poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
One thing I don’t understand, if he believes there is no God, then why blame Him for the poverty? And how easy it is for people to create memes about the hungry kids, in the comfort of their houses and accuse God for His inexistence. Anyways…
These memes and much more very demeaning memes about Jesus and God in the person’s Instagram account were very disturbing to me personally. I don’t know much about atheism and why some people deny God’s existence. I can only assume it’s because God doesn’t do things as per their To-Do list.
Our smoothly sailing life got a little bit ruffled with both of our kids falling sick at the same time. What was thought to be a common cold and cough worsened with time and both of them were admitted in two different hospitals.
My son developed breathing difficulties and was kept in ICU for a couple of days for oxygen support and my daughter was beginning to develop pneumonia and was being treated for the same.
Things got disoriented and due to the COVID protocol, it was a bit challenging to deal with all the hospital procedures. While my husband stayed with my son, I stayed with my daughter in the hospital.
It was the first time both of them fell very sick together and we found ourselves stressed out both physically and emotionally. When my son was admitted in the hospital, his absence in the home made me saddened. The silence at home sounded louder than the noise and mess he used to make being at home. For the first time the house looked tidy, everything in the house was in its place, except him. My daughter on the other side was struggling with her health challenges. The fever and increasing cough made her too weak. When Asher was discharged, the same day she was admitted.
This was a trying time for us as a family but God was with us. Most importantly, this time we could feel Him, hear Him, talk to Him, experience His help and His compassion, His touch, His assuring and comforting words and His presence in the most authentic and real ways. In other words we saw Him……
During this challenging period, we weren’t all alone. Our loving family members stood by us throughout this difficult time. Our friends came over to offer their help for the hospital stays and other related conveniences. The Esther prayer group’s sisters offered their continued prayers for us. Asher’s home-schooling community families supported us with their prayers and calls and few of my friends whom I had never met but who were just connected with me through the blog, backed me up with their messages and prayers. Also, we met very kind hospital staff and doctors who were so empathetic, caring and relational.
During my stay with my daughter in hospital, the nurses walked the extra mile with me as I looked after her. They helped me in ways which were not part of their duty. They offered their help in wonderful ways. When I was alone in the room with my daughter, some of the nurses would just come over to ask if I was OK. They would talk with me and listen long as I told them about Jennie. Some would simply visit to see if she was improving in her health. They called her “Vave” (baby) with love. They made sure that she gets less pain as they gently inserted cannula, gave injections and took out blood for the tests from her fragile hands. Every evening, a very graceful and softly-spoken catholic nun would visit the patients to pray for them. When she would visit us, she would run her fingers through Jennie’s hair and talk to her. She would spend extra time to know about her health.
Through these supportive, loving, kind, helpful and caring people, we experienced God’s constant presence with us in our hardships. He showed up through the people whom He put in our lives.
I am a “let me carry my own cross” type person. I hesitate to take help from others. I am like that drowning man who trusts God for his rescue but refuses to take help from the people who are willing to help him. He believes that God will save him but He doesn’t realise that God is helping him through the people He has sent for his rescue.
In the creation narrative in Genesis, we read that God made man in His own image and likeness.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
As I think deeply about this verse, I understand that God has endowed His attributes upon humans as He created them. Man is to show God’s invisible image through his visible life. It’s not that God possesses human-like features but it’s more about God’s Spirit which dwells in humans. God is invisible, He is a Spirit but He surely manifests himself through humans – His unique creations. Humans are the visible reflections, the imprints of the invisible God.
In Asher’s English grammar syllabus, I was confused in classifying “God” as a concrete or abstract noun. Concrete nouns name a physical object which can be experienced with the five senses while abstract nouns are a concept, quality or condition which can’t be experienced with the five senses. We can’t sense God through five senses. We can’t see Him, hear Him, or touch Him. So how can we put God in the concrete noun category? We can…because the world He made is concrete. His Son Jesus whom He sent was in the human form and the human beings He created in His image and likeness are concrete too. Through them we can definitely sense God, His touch, His healing, His voice, His comfort, His assurance, His love, His kindness, His compassion and His blessings too.
I have no answers to the question, “why are sufferings there and why does God allow them?” But I am beginning to realise that it’s only in the midst of pain we can fully experience His healing touch; only in need we can fully experience His provision; only in brokenness can we fully experience His love; only in loneliness can we fully experience His presence; only in hardships and emotional upheaval can we fully experience His comfort and only in the life’s storms we can fully experience our faith in Him. When there is pain, there will be love, mercy, compassion, comfort, care and empathy and we as His image bearers are called to demonstrate them to the suffering world through our lives.
We are the “Imago Dei“, His image; the concrete reflection of Him to the world. Let others see Him and experience Him through each one of our lives!
The people who struggle with life’s challenges, loss, grief, or any other major hardships or painful tragedies, constantly wrestle with the question “why?” They can explain to you what has happened, when it has happened, where it has happened, and how it has happened, but the “whys” remain unanswered most of the time. And we aren’t an exception to this either. My husband and I are trying to make the best sense of our different life, we are trying to overcome our pain with hope, positivity and perseverance, and we are also trying to find the “why” along the way in our daughter’s case.
Sometimes, It’s a hard situation to be in. It’s a whirlpool of different emotions, thoughts and unanswered questions. Butwhat makes it even harder is when others try to assume different answers to those “whys,” when others try to fill in those blanks with the reasons they want to choose. Its hard when others play the guessing game for your “whys”.
A person we met recently, claimed that our daughter’s medical condition is a result of a servant of God cursing our family. Further, if there are any grudges we hold against anyone, we must reconcile with them. He was sure that there is a curse on our family. He shared this out of his personal experiences. We were meeting him for the first time. His statements seemed humiliating as well as sort of disturbing to our nearly healed wounds. We wondered: How could he be so insensitive?
A few days ago, I came across a beautiful poem written by James Patrick Kinney. He was an American poet who wrote the poem in 1960 during the African –American Civil Rights Movement. Even though this poem was written many years ago, it still speaks profound volumes to the one who reads it today. It made me reflect on each of its words too and do some soul searching to gain greater insights from it.