It’s not easy. It’s not a road fraught with simply easy decisions.
The search for meaning in my or your very tiny universe of things you or I control is very complex and constantly threaded through like a bad plaid blanket with beautiful and awful strains running right next to one another. It is almost impossible to believe in a loving God, or any God at all, when cradling a young dead friend or family member in one’s arms. It is almost impossible to not believe in a loving and God when one is losing one’s eye and prays for it to be saved against physical possibility and it is.
The ‘Thinking Man’ statue comes to mind. Having a cigarette and staring off a pier out over still waters comes to mind. Hiding under bed covers and refusing to peek out comes to mind. God does not talk. That I’ve pretty much figured out and you should have too. Humans say that God talks to them in order to get other humans to believe them so that those believing humans will do what those God has supposedly talked to will do what they want them to do. That’s why humans love to preach and why preachers cannot listen to other preachers.
But what of humans who must reflect in those places I mentioned above and try to interpret God’s acts? God does seem to act if he, she or it is there. What to make of the actions becomes the reflective but driving course of action/thought/inaction. Once accepting that God acts how does one or any of us down here figure out that vast chasm between the dead loved one in our arms and the irrationally impossibly saved eye in our head? How can those two acts co-exist side by side? They can’t possibly, in this matrix of complexity we’ve come to call life. If they cannot co-exist as acts of a loving rational God then what does that say about the impossibility of every having any understanding about the meaning of this life?
What does that say about following any belief system set up to deal with this….by other humans?
Not God, because God does not write or speak.
Where is God? Why will there be no speech from God ever, or written word directly from God ever?
How are we to deal with this?
James I think Stephen Hawking has it correct. I agree with his analysis if God exist.
jim]i have always loved being around controlled chaos.i don’t want people to get hurt but love it when someone trips or a chair breaks when sitting down on it.now in heaven where all is good just doesent sound like fun.i want to play baseball in heaven but i don’t want to hit a homerun every time i go to bat.its like fishing or hunting i don’t want to catch a fish every cast or kill a turkey every time I’m out hunting.dont tell judie but the idea of getting a farra faucet or a waquel welch don’t seem like a bad deal.i am a beliver in a higher spirit[ god ]i know jesus christ as my savior. god knows all so he knows when I’m lying.the one think i know for sure is I’m one screwed up human but it was his will to create me.i do hope he lets me live long enough so i get to read your final chapter of your never ending book. omer
Oh you are going to live for a bit Omer. Besides, I don’t have that many
friends that I pray for their wives or to keep the friends alive long enough so that I don’t run out.
Keep writing to me because you break me up when I read your stuff.
You have one hell of a sense of humor and it’s even funnier when you don’t think you are being funny!
Thank you my friend,
Silence is the voice of the Creator
If everything is in balance
If everything is in harmony
If everything is as it should be, then
You don’t have to say anything, you just automatically understand.
Silence is in your heart of hearts,
It is in the forest eternal
It is in a whiff of wind
Silence is screaming so loud it is deafening. Listen.
Interesting poem, and I almost feel like the only proper response is silence. How could
I respond using only that as a reply, however?
It seems to me your fundamental question is, “How can a loving God allow evil to exist?”. And probably even more than exist, but thrive and control so much of our lives. For me, it is fairly simple. I know that the evil I see around me, and know lives inside of me, is there because of sin -the failure to be all that God has created me to be. (It’s more than that, but I can’t type it all on a phone) evil then is not God’s fault, for he did not cause it. Some will say that he is responsible for it, because he does not act to stop it, usually. The shooting Sunday in Texas would have been a great place for a lightning bolt from the blue. But when does he stop throwing the bolts? At murder? How about when a government refuses to feed it’s people and instead spends all it’s cash on weapons (N Korea)? Isn’t a drug pusher guilty of murder? How about rape? Good has chosen not to act directly in this world because we are such a sorry bunch of loosers that we would all be gone. Paul said, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”. But God did act by sending his Son into the world to bear the sins of the world. All of those lightening bolts that should have fried all of us, went to him instead. God’s solution then was not to take evil out of the world, but to take the evil out of us and one day take us to a new world where there is no evil. Talking about the believers in heaven John says, “Never again will they hunger, never again will they thirst, the sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd. And he will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”. I try to go through life realizing that I deserve nothing but God’s wrath and punishment, and yet fully amazed and thankful for the forgiveness, peace, and eternal home in heaven that is mine through Christ.
I have read and reread your treatise here. Good stuff, and I cannot thank you enough.
Powerful! Thank you so very much…
Great discussion. It does take faith to believe in a God, I do. Science can’t prove the existence of God nor can science disprove the existence of God. I see evidence of God in nature and the universe. It’s difficult for me to believe all of this happened from a “big bang.” Everything I see confirms to me that we are all created by a designer. Why is there so much evil, death and misery in the world? The answer is man has been created with free will and some choose to do evil acts. The believer has faith in the existence of God, the atheist has faith that there is no god. Pick one!
Good stuff here Don. Thanks for the food for thought and for writing it on here…
Timely thoughts, Jim…I’m to visit with my VA doc in the morning about a lump that shouldn’t be.
Here’s my Base Faith: If God is God, He may therefore do as He pleases. And His pleasure is, ultimately, in our best interests…if we are made in His image. He speaks through His Word, recorded by a few He chose for that purpose (not to dismiss His prerogative to speak personally, if He so chooses). And, if He is God, He is Creator: the sole able Genius of the beginning and so speaks through creative evidence. He is the only sensible explanation to nature, the universe, life and death…all of it.
The same God that gave you the answer you wanted you will answer me. Hope it’s the one I like.
Well, I prayed. It seemed to work for my eye. I hope for your lump.
I believe things work out but have trouble with that ‘for the best’ part.
I guess that’s the same problem I have with my level of faith. I pray, though, for you…
Thanks for the prayer… Turns out there’s two lumps. Neither of them amount to anything other than a lump. An inflammation of overused, aging muscles.
I suppose it’s just another episode of a slow (hopefully) disintegration.
Good news and not too bad news…so far.
Well, hell, that’s great news and I am so happy my prayers might play a role…even if it just to make your feel better.
Which would be the intent of all of us on here reading of your plight.
Thanks for letting us all know.
God is a Spirit and you must worship him in spirit truth. You can’t contact God through your intellect because he is all knowing and we aren’t. When you worship God in spirit an truth, he will reveal himself to your soul ( intellect ). He will give you direction and instruction through your spirit. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord Prov 20:27
And there is the conundrum we are all stuck with Virgil. You just wrote the word of man, not the word of God.
That the word of God was written by men to become the bible is just as contentious.
Thanks for your beliefs as laid down here and for bothering to write…
All I can say JAMES is GOD dwells in your heart, I think at times you can hear him there . I am not a go to church every SUNDAY kind of person, but I do believe there is a higher power out there. I agree with DR. CARSON if we evolved from MONKEYS why are there still APES, CHIMPS, mokeys and all other primates ?
Well, Harold, as an anthropologist I must tell you that nowhere in our studies of the
many disciplines looking into the origins of man does anybody say that man came from monkeys
or any other existent hominid species. There’s a ‘root’ character back there that is hard to
deny, probably rising up after the dominance of the dinosaur era.
Thank you for your anecdotal affirmation of your belief in God…
which to me is totally personal.
You cannot take someone’s word for the existence of God unless, of course, you want to.
Thanks for the cogent comment on this contentious issue…
Not sure I know how to approach this…. My conflict with any belief system based on a deity began earlier in my life and, at this point, I accept that if there be a God he/she or it would communicate with us direct. It seems a paradox that direct communication with God isn’t possible yet according to medical professionals, prayer promotes healing in patients…. The intervention of God or the power of positive thinking???
Yes, as you can see Darian, have been wrestling mentally with the same arguments for years.
How can all this be here and we not be able to understand how it all came to be.
God is the answer but how does one believe in some entity that
can never be seen, heard or touched?
Semper fi, and thanks,
You might want to check out the book by Lee Strobel called a case for Christ. He did an extensive research on does God exist. He was a devout atheist when he began his journey after all his research ended up excepting Christ as his Savior. Not saying you have to do that on a personal level it is just well-written book the kind of lays it all out. Love what you do James all the best Chuck
Thanks for the compliment Chuck. I’ll look up the book…
If you know the Son, then you know the Father. Only Jesus Christ can reveal the Father to you. Ask and you shall receive.
I have read that before…again proving that practice is sure a lot harder than the reading, thinking or conjecture….
I was reared in the Baptist Church. God was alternately loving or judgmental. Now, at 67, I’ve spent a lot of time considering what I believe about God. I think there was a creator. That’s it. I don’t think he/she has anything to do with everyday life on Earth–or indeed anywhere else in the universe. I believe that the Bible, like all religions was based on political expediency. And finally, I believe humans NEED to believe in something greater than ourselves. That doesn’t mean that entity is out there orchestrating our lives.
If I was God, in reading your words, then I would ‘touch’ you in some way. It’s a pretty safe bet that I’m not God, although some people think upon occasion that my ego might justify my own belief in me being that entity. There’s not a lot of peace in believing for truly intellectual people.
But the strangeness of the universe and our own impossibility of understanding it lead to a God conclusion.
Whom is right? Thanks for the comment and the deep expression of thought.
We have the written word of God, it is called The Holy Bible! God’s plan was not for human suffering
but man brought sin into existence by disobedience, sin is the reason for suffering and pain.
Thankfully God provides a way for forgiveness of sins through his son, Jesus the Christ.
John 3:16 says: For God so loved the world he gave his only son, that whoever believes
in him shall not perish but have ever lasting life.
Thanks for the biblical treatise William.
Having that question “What/who is God if anything beyond imagination” going on in my mind since I was a Catholic fifteen year old, continues to resonate as “that question.”
Answers I’ve found come from religious and non religious studies from around the world that have come my way via my search for answers. You know there are as many as people as religions as the question askers of the ages.
My current answer at the age of seventy-one is incomplete and incomprehensible as it is impossible to put into words for one who continues to tear up when “Amazing Grace” is played and sung.
All things considered, I can’t tell you you why. Or what.
In my incompleteness as complete as a man can be I continue to believe that God exists in the mind of believes and in the eyes of the innocent – in the little bodies of the five year old children I taught art to last week when I took a job substitute teaching in a elementary school.
How I deal with this is to live with all that I posted above as absolute though incomplete and faulty if I am to believe that there is more than meets the eye, which I do.
So this morning I sat in church with my wife, the band played and we stood and sang, and the preacher preached about giving.
I sang more out of exercising my vocal cords than inspired rapture; I listened and watched the people out of curiosity, out of an inability to understand them in any other terms other than, “Like me many wonder the same things I do and others have conclusions I don’t. So be it.”
The atheists leave me cold – Sartre does that though I find Camus illuminating. The hard pragmatic non believers in anything other than the material leave me cold.
Give me a world of believers in God, not a world of non believers. That comforts me in my uncomfortable skin.
Which is the best I can do and say, for now.
Which was a pretty damned neat reversing diatribe on your beliefs and maybe my own!!!
I often think what did people do before God? We’re their souls for not. Was their life meaningless . What gives us the power of complex thought, and contemplate our own existence . There may be God it might not be what we expect it to be.
That is very thought provoking and something that I can relate to personally. After 35+ years in Fire/EMS I have often asked myself the same questions. Where is/was God when this or that terrible tragedy that I was involved with was occurring? Or the events of my co-workers. I still don’t have any answers. Sometimes I feel that I exist just to function. Now I’ve said more than I like to about it.
So sorry to hear about your eye. I really hope there will be a positive outcome.
Appreciate your input, Monty.
Maybe one definition of God or to say,one of the many definitions of God is actually the spirit of the people in collectively. As we’re all aware of death often being in some cases instantaneous, there’s no time to pray for that soul,but often as not if there is an ongoing health issue and people can pray or concentrate on positive energy for the affliction as a large group,then on occasion a healing miracle may occur. Just a thought as rational as any other I would reckon. Please keep up your writing. It is indeed a gift to your brother’s and sisters.
He knows what will happen every minute in each of our lives. He doesn’t direct any of it. We do. For better or worse.
The bible we use IS his written word.
Our job is to learn it.
Some things we were not meant to know. One’s belief n God is based on choice and a desire to believe. I have had life changing and life saving events in my life that have no rational explanation. I have had a sick feeling in my stomach at the moment of my son’s death and later an answer to a prayer that he was ok. Why are some prayers answered and others not?? Only God knows. One could argue all day on this topic and never settle it. We will only know for sure, or not, when we take our last breath. For me, I have had enough unexplainable events to convince me for sure that there is something after we leave this world we know. Those who do not believe usually do everything possible to discredit unexplainable events, God Bless them anyway. Our world and universe is miraculous in itself.
It is good we each have our foundational beliefs in place.
Thanks for your input
A few years back, I wrote a monologue to use in auditions for drama films. Setting is somewhere in Vietnam:
“(MOTION TO STOP…)
TAKE A BREAK HERE.
HARTMAN, KEARNS. PERIMETER.
FOGARTY. RADIO BASE. LET THEM KNOW WE’RE TWO CLICKS OUT. WE’LL DROP WHITE SMOKE WHEN WE’RE COMING IN.
(SIT. TAKE HELMET OFF. LOOK AROUND)
STEVENS, YOU PRAYING AGAIN?…
ME, SURE, I BELIEVE IN GOD… I JUST DON’T THINK HE’S PAYING TOO MUCH ATTENTION WHEN THERE’S A WAR GOING ON.
LOOK. I’VE SEEN TOO MUCH KILLING AND MAIMING. I’VE SEEN TOO MANY OF MY MEN KILLED OR GETTING VARIOUS BODY PARTS BLOWN OFF. IF GOD WAS WATCHING OVER US, I DON’T THINK ALL THAT WOULD BE HAPPENING. I THINK IN TIMES OF WAR, GOD JUST SORT OF TURNS HIS HEAD THE OTHER WAY. I THINK WE’RE PRETTY MUCH ON OUR OWN.
OK, SO LET ME ASK YOU THIS, STEVENS. DO YOU PRAY EVERY DAY?
DO YA THINK YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE?
NO, I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT YOUR MOMMA AND YOUR GRANDMA AND YOUR GIRLFRIEND. I’M TALKING ABOUT THEM (GESTURES). CHARLIE. THE GOOKS. DO YA THINK THEY AREN’T PRAYING, TOO? DO YA THINK THEIR MOMMAS AND GRANDMAS AND GIRLFRIENDS AREN’T PRAYING, TOO?
NO, STEVENS. SOMETHING WRONG WHEN EVERYONE IS PRAYING ON BOTH SIDES AND PEOPLE ARE STILL DYING ON BOTH SIDES. AND I’VE SEEN IT: THE GUYS WHO ARE PRAYING AREN’T IMMUNE FROM DYING. NO, GOD’S JUST SORT OF LOOKING THE OTHER WAY. WAR IS HELL. WE’RE ON OUR OWN.
(PUTS HELMET BACK ON, GETS UP)
OK, LET’S HEAD ON IN.
STEVENS. YOU GOT POINT. YOU CAN SAY YOUR PRAYERS ON THE WAY OUT.”
You speak of the ultimate question warriors face. The frustrations over the attempt to understand. My read as a believer – ware is hell. And if God were to protect everyone who prays to him, man’s nature would likely lead him to engage in more wars. After all, he would be invincible. So God allows the deaths and the maimings. To remind us that war is not something to enter into lightly. And He brings some of his children home to Him a lot earlier than we might like to see. As for death, something we all face before we get out of here, I think some of that is pure evil and has nothing whatsoever to do with God. I believe that will be sorted out in the coming final conflict against evil.
As to the enemy who prays to their God, I think sometimes they are praying to the same God. Other times, I think they are praying to false gods. I have no doubt that God mourns the fact that His children are sometimes on both sides.
Lastly, all who pray are not necessarily good and righteous people. War will make believers out of many. I think that sometimes God will bring those righteous ones home to Him a little “early” – a reward for a pure heart. Hard for us to understand. Something that I think we will understand, if and when we are blessed enough to enter into the Kingdom of God.
Interesting that you have posted some musings over a religious issue and so far there don’t appear to be any comments (which you did ask for). A very pointed question you have asked, with no easy answer from what I see. Next time, be very careful if you ask a political question, you’ll likely release a virtual firestorm.
Neat neat stuff here, Marshall….
God reveals himself in three ways in my experience. Reading his word, thru our prayers, sometimes thru a Vision. Beware of wheat/Tares, people starting God’s work, God is already working and we are to seek where he is already working and join him there. Your writings are thought provoking pain suffering adversity faced. Words of encouragement.
Traveling north on US 127 out of Ohio into Michigan about 2 am just after a snow storm with only the westerly wind and blowing snow to contend with, the only way I could tell where I was on the roadway were the fence lines on either side of me. The wind kept pushing the trailer off to the right 8, 10,12 degrees and I kept thinking that the material in that winters’ safety meeting said you can’t get back from a 15 degree jackknife. I leaned forward, looked up and out the windshield and asked my God why I was there. I saw the most spectacular meteorite burn, brilliant green that split when the meteorite broke apart. Out loud, I said OK and continued on with the firm knowledge that He was around that night.
I think we choose to reconcile these things in our minds for our own comfort or discomfort depending on what our mood happens to be in that instant. Watching life wink out or suddenly get snatched away are, I think, the two hardest parts of life to contend with. Why is it OK for the old man to die in his sleep and not when it’s the grunt beside you or the young lady that died in the accident. I prefer to let those thoughts go unfinished, the alternative has no up side. Maybe I’m that guy tripping lightly through life with blinders on, at this point I’m probably too old to care.
Is it ever OK for someone to die?
Or should there be solace in the fact it happens?
So many questions, Walter
Your insight is appreciated
God answered your prayers and he answered mine some years ago. I look at the world and the sky and see Gods work. Why he doesn’t personally speak to us I don’t know, but He is there and listening. Some day I do believe He will be back, don’t know if that will be good news for most people.
In your stories you speak of sudden inspiration in deperate situations. Suddenly you have an idea then a complete plan or close to it comes to you. Is this per chance or is this God seeing your problem and speaking to you? You lived and so did others some didn’t. Was this Gods plan. Many have gone on to greater things. Your book and stories have touched many myself included Was God talking and you listening during and after you served? My thoughts are God talks to us not in a booming voice but in a way where we must listen closely and the results show that you heard and did what was asked of you. With out your abilities to tell it like it was has brought many men a peace they other wise would never have had. PS God bless and continued good luck with your eyes. I wait for each chapter like a kid waiting on Christmas
Thank you, Clarence.
Really appreciate your support and loyalty,
Good morning James: I am certainly glad to hear that your sight is improving….prayers do get answered, not always, but in this case,yes, because I believe your “mission” is not complete yet…I struggled for thirty five years, when as a 19 year old father holding my dead son in my arms , why would a loving God do this? It tppk me that long to accept Christ as my Personal Savior and to understand ……..WHY……God does talk James,all the answers are in the BOOK. God Bless on your Journey, another James, an old 11Bravo40 non combant
Thanks for for sharing your experience and the support, James.
Semper fi, Jim
Wet macular degeneration, just found out and receiverd a shot direct to the eyeball. James, I simply surrender as it is my only choice. Like a train leaving the station , I just jump aboard.
When we look at “me.” The challenges that “I” have endured; we are missing the message. This isn’t about “me” or about “you.” It is bigger than us; and our focus on eternal nirvana or even less pain and suffering for “me” or “you” or “us” denies us the vantage point of humility. Our pain is just a point of perspective. No matter how bad; there is always worse. No matter how good; there is always better.
I think our spirituality is better served transcending the challenges “I,” “you,” or “we” face; and focus on the grandeur, order, and connection to something greater than ourselves. And then rejoice that we were given one more day, rejoice that “I” have been given the responsibility to live for those who didn’t, and love for those who can’t.
If we wish to find the “loving God” let us not seek that “loving God” through the mitigation of “my” challenges; but through the blessing of time given me to mitigate the pain and suffering of others, through whatever means endowed in me.
Appreciate your comment and support.
That is what Faith in God is all about. You have to believe that God is Soverign. He knows how our story ends. And God does talk to us. He talked to Moses through a burning bush, He had men write his words to us through the Bible, He sent his Prophets in the Old Testament Times to tell them what they needed to know, He sent His Son in the New Testament to show us His direct love for us. God is always there in the good & bad times. The trouble with humans is that we recognize our need for God most in the bad times.
“The trouble with humans is that we recognize our need for God most in the bad times.”
This is something that should change but will it ever, especially today with the rise of the
Persoanlity Cult idolatry?
James, you are sounding like someone I’ve read about numerous times. His name is Job. Found in the Bible (page 751 in my Bible). He lost a LOT of things in his life, all 10 of his kids, all his possessions, and almost his wife. I can’t image what you’re going thru. My Dad was an inspiration to me, even while I was serving in Nam. His letters at the time didn’t mean a lot at the time, but now that he’s passed on when I read his letters, I can mentally hear his words. Yes he is speaking to me, even though he is physically there. Yet his words are more meaningful to me todaym even though he’s gone. That’s the way I see the Bible. Those 66 “letters” (Old and New Testament books together) is where I mentally “hear” God’s Words to Me.
Just thoughts, James.
A TYPO (I need an editor also). I stated “Yes he is speaking to me, even though he is physically there.”
It should have read “is NOT physically there”.
I caught it….~~~smile
Well, I am honored with the Job connection.
Appreciate your comment and substance, Chaplain