The God Question

As an Interfaith Spiritual Counselor I’ve had to grapple with the God question quite a bit, both for my own personal benefit and in order to figure out how to best support my clients.  To be frank, it’s a very complicated subject.  Everything about “God”- the language, ideology, familial and cultural training, or one’s belief or disbelief – can be a hugely loaded issue. Personally, I don’t believe that there is any one right answer.  I think that every person is entitled to come to a conclusion about, or an experience of, God for themselves.

My personal journey so far has been quite complicated.  I have always been a person of faith but I was also taught to question my beliefs and “grapple” with them as I needed to. I was taught that God loved me, and that He (or She, or It, or whatever makes you comfortable) desired my love in return, which was an easy and natural thing for me to do as a child.  But I suppose all relationships are messy, and our relationship with God is no exception. As I got older there were periods of my life when I was afraid of God,  times when I ignored God, and for a while there was a period when I was very, incredibly, world-endingly angry at God.  But things have a way of resolving themselves over time, and now my relationship with God is something else altogether.  An explanation evades me at the moment, but I will say that it feels deeper, sweeter, and more grounded, as well as humble and more confused. Somehow, the more deeply I experience my own faith, and feel confirmed in my experience of Spirit, the more baffling the idea of God becomes.  Perhaps this is some sort of unavoidable divine paradox.  Or perhaps this is just my own personal journey.

So whatever relationship (or non-relationship) you have with God right now is absolutely fine.  It’s your relationship.  No one else can tell you how it should be. However… don’t get too comfortable.  Relationships are always evolving so leave room for the possibility of being surprised down the road.  The one constant in this world it is change – and in our spiritual lives change is our saving grace.

I stumbled upon the following quote yesterday and hope you find it interesting, and maybe helpful.  It is from one of the letters of Rainer Maria Rilke (a poet).  He is addressing a young aspiring poet who has become disenchanted due to his loss of faith as an adult:

…if it dismays and torments you to think of childhood and of the simplicity and stillness that goes with it, because you can no longer believe in God who is to be met with everywhere there, ask yourself, dear Herr Kappus, whether you have after all really lost God? Is it not much rather the case that you have never yet possessed him? For when might that have been? Do you believe a child can hold him, him whom men bear only with difficulty, whose weight bows down the aged? Do you believe that one who really has him could lose him like a little stone, or do you not also feel that one who had him could but be lost by him? – But when you realize that he was not in your childhood, and not before hand, when you surmise that Christ was deluded by his longing and Mohammed betrayed by his pride, – and when you feel with horror that he does not exist now either, in this hour when we are speaking of him, – what entitles you then to miss, as if he had passed away, and to seek, as if he were lost, someone who has never been?

Why do you not think that he who draws near from all eternity is still to come, that he is in the future, the final fruit of a tree whose leaves we are? What prevents you from throwing forward his truth into times yet to be, and living your life as a painful and beautiful day in the history of a great gestation? Do you not see, then, how everything that happens is for ever a beginning, and might it not be His beginning, since beginning is in itself always so beautiful?

… As bees collect honey, so we take what is sweetest out of everything and build Him. We start actually with the slight, with the unpretentious (if only it is done with love), with work and with resting after it, with a silence or with a little solitary joy, with everything that we do alone, without helpers or adherents, we begin him whom we shall not experience anymore than our forefathers could experience us. And yet they are in us, those who have long since passed away, as natural disposition, as burden on our destiny, as blood that throbs, and as gesture that rises up out of the depths of time.

Is there anything which can take from you the hope of thus being hereafter in him, in the most distant, the uttermost?

… He perhaps needs just this fear of life from you in order to begin; these very days of your transition are perhaps the time when everything in you is working upon him, as once before in childhood you worked upon him breathlessly. Be patient and without resentment, and reflect that the least we can do is, not to make his becoming more difficult for him than the earth makes it for the Spring that wants to come.

(From Letters to a Young Poet, pp28-30)







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