Answers. Everyone expects a minister to have answers.
One of my friends is struggling with knowing or feeling God. People told her to pray more, read the bible more… read more books… but still, she feels nothing, she knows nothing. She keeps asking me what she can do to get out of the numbness… and she keeps asking her friends… but nobody has the answers. I myself went through at least a year of not hearing God at all, and it brought me to become an atheist for a month or so. But honestly, I don’t know how I got out of it. There were no easy answers for me to get out. I could only stare back in sympathy, and tell her (seemingly emptily) that I knew God would show Himself to her, that she should still have hope.
Another one of my friends is struggling with God because he feels God just pulled a bait switch on him. He says he swore at God for the first time, he yelled at God, he punched a wall for the first time. Where is God, he asks. I try to speak, I try to pray- sometimes it feels empty. Are there really any answers?
I visited my grandparents the other day, who are not christians. They love to have me over for dinner, and cook for me. I see more of Christ in them than many people who claim to be christians. It’s weird. These days, they can’t cook as much anymore. My grandma’s diabetes are getting really bad. She keeps sweating all the time. She tells me that she hates taking the medicine, because she has to inject herself with it every morning and every night. She says her hand shakes each time she has to stick the needle into her stomach, and shows me her scars. She hates it. She hates being diabetic. We sit down to eat a meal consisted of some vegetables my grandpa cooked an some chicken they bought from Ranch 99. And then she begins to eat rice. WHY IS SHE EATING RICE?? it will only make her diabetes worse! I ask her, and she asks me, “what else am I supposed to eat?” It’s heartbreaking that she has to give up her lifestyle-actually, her culture- of eating rice- something so close to any Chinese person, all because of diabetes. And she won’t accept it. As she is showing me how she has to prick herself every morning and every night to test her blood and record it in a notebook smeared with drops of blood, I really want to just tell her to stop eating rice. But every time, she just stares back at me tiredly, and says I wouldn’t understand. I have no real answer.
you think once you do ministry, you will have all the answers. But somehow, the answers you do have seem so empty in the face of so much distance from God. It’s these moments where you realize the only answer you can ever have is something beyond your own agency, your own abilities… God? I suppose that’s the whole point of a minister anyways. I always tell people- prayer is the act of proclaiming the reality of God into the reality of our contextual brokenness. There are times I doubt God’s reality can really stand against the reality we see around us…
but then, there is hope. There is faith. There is love.
God, help me to hold on to You…. not only for my sake, but for the sake of those around me. I confess that You are the only one that can intervene… do not be silent.