Find a spot where you can sit and observe for at least 20 minutes: a bench at a park, shopping mall, or museum; from inside your car in a parking lot; or even a place close to home, like your front porch. Ideally, it’s a location where you can watch action and interaction in a setting (between people, wildlife, weather, etc.).
The moment I got this prompt, my knee-jerk thought went along the lines of: “… and just where can I sit down for 20 minutes and observe my surroundings?”
It just so happens that today, I was stuck in traffic for almost three hours, as I made my way to work. It was more than enough time to gather thoughts to fill an entire week of Writing 101! There was, however, a recurring “theme” — thoughts and questions — that persistently came back, as I listened to Victory Worship’s Everlasting Glory: I had questions about my faith, I had questions for God.
You hold the universe in Your hands
Yet You chose to be the one on the cross
You created everything with Your word
But you chose to be the One
You chose to be the One
As I looked out the windows of the bus and the taxi I took, and as the song played, I found myself asking: “For anyone who sees all this chaos, this dirt; who has to breathe this polluted air; who has to navigate these dirty and dangerous streets and face corrupt officials; who has to waste precious time stuck in traffic instead of spending more time being productive or being with loved ones; who has to live in a country governed by officials who do not care enough to give their taxpayers the quality of life that they truly deserve — how could they see God in all this?”
Your life for all, my King and Savior
You took the fall so we could live
Your life for all, my King and Savior
You rose again and we believe
that You deserve all —
The slow-moving traffic allowed me to see details: trash along the highway; irate drivers zig-zagging without any real regard for safety; frustrated pedestrians because they could not get a proper ride; dirty street children in tattered clothes running bare foot along the highway, trying to catch jeepneys that could give them a free ride for the heck of it; traffic enforcers waving down miscreant drivers; the shanties of the urban poor looking like cavities stuck in the yellowed teeth of fancier looking buildings, the hot and heavy traffic making for a swelling gum disease.
At each instance, I asked, “God, where are You in all this? How can they see Your hand at work here?”
— glory, everlasting glory
You alone are mighty
You alone are worthy of all praise
Author of creation
We sing of Your salvation
Glory to the King of Heaven
Of course, as a Christian woman, I know He is present in this world broken by sin. I am aware of what’s going on, I am aware as to why the world is like this and how “[t]here will always be poor in the land.” (Deuteronomy 15:11 NIV) But how will you explain this to those who do not believe, to those who do not see what I see? How do I explain what I know to be true, what I can see beyond my own personal suffering, to those whose suffering are more cutting and obvious?
The cross displayed the love You have for all
Inviting sons and daughters back into Your home
And every breath we breathe You provide
And You hold all things together
And You hold me forever
Of course, the best response is not to worry my day away. The verse from Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (NLT) is a poignant reminder of what I should be doing; but I am human, and it is in my nature to ask questions, to look for answers. During my ride, I just decided to think about other things — about how I will be budgeting my money, what I will be doing during the weekend, how I was actually assigned to study and memorize the song for Sunday…
We will follow You, with everything that we have
We will follow You, oh there is no turning back
We will follow You, with all our lives we will sing
We will follow You…
But now, the moment that I write this, I realize that I have all these truths now tucked into my heart — how God is in control and that nothing that happens is an accident; how Jesus’ passion means that there is something we look forward to, even after this world is used up and gone; how God’s heart breaks so much more than mine, and how truly He rejoices when His children return to Him — because that is just how He loves; how, despite my limited understanding of the world, He loves with a love that I can never understand — but it is a love that has allowed “Doubting Thomas”, and now me, to ask questions.
And the answers? Look to Him first and always, pray, love, and share the good news. I may not discern exactly what God is doing (duh!), but it will not stop me from lifting up praises to Him, and praying about these things that I feel a burden for. I know that the mere action of turning to Him and laying down my worries at His feet.
As I wrap up, I realize that this might not make sense to some of my readers; so if you have questions about the Christian faith, I will do my best to answer. I am not out to “make converts” or to make you agree with me, and I am open to listen and to discuss. Otherwise, I would like to direct you to Got Questions; a collection Biblical answers to questions about life, and faith. I believe it is a good place to start as any.
And, I would like to take this chance to say that if there is something you would like me to pray you for, feel free to comment here, or to drop me a line through my contact page should you wish for privacy.
That said, thank you for your time. God bless you.