One of my local churches has recently distributed signs stating very simply, “We all have questions.”
Sometimes we question the very existence of God. Sometimes we question His nature: is He truly all powerful? Omnipresent? All knowing? All merciful? All loving? Can He really be concerned with every hair on our heads? Does He actually desire to be intricately involved in each detail of our lives?
And sometimes we question whether God actually loves us—that we are indeed lovable. Given our knowledge of our shortcomings and defects, we might wonder how God could love us. We may ask: Since I repeatedly fall into sin and selfishness, am I worthy of God’s love?
When questions like these arise in our hearts, they can take us to the feet of Jesus or they can allow the Devil to gain a foothold to keep us from the Lord. Recall the conversation Satan had with Eve in the Garden of Eden: Did God really say that you could not eat of that tree in the garden? If these questions cause us to doubt God’s nature then the Devil is likely at work.
Contrast this experience with Gabriel’s visit to Mary. When Mary was informed that she was to be the mother of Jesus, she responded in wonderment: How can this be? It was a question of wonderment fixed on the all-powerful nature of God. It was a question of trust—not of doubt.
I recently read something from Bishop Baron that said if we really believed in the true nature of God that our lives would be forever changed. When I look at my life, I am indeed amazed at the miraculous change divine mercy has made in my life. To not live with a constant battle against porn addiction is a gift that three years ago I couldn’t imagine receiving. However, I still get so frustrated with many of my other shortcomings. And I still fight against despair when I fall in other ways and wonder about God’s love for me.
Yet, the lives of the apostles and saints remind us that, though we will have glimpses of God’s nature and flashes of insight and wisdom throughout our lives, we are a work in progress. We are going to continue to fall in this earthly life.
However, when we do and then struggle with questions about God’s love for us it’s important to seek a community so that we can be reminded of God’s unfailing love for us. As Jesus told us, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there also am I.”
Ultimately, God has promised that He will complete the good work He has started in each of us. Notice that it’s God’s job to complete this good work. We are able to love only because He first loved us—we are loved by God not for anything we have done but because of who He is! And so, when questions of doubt creep in that cause us to question whether God loves us because of our sinfulness, remember to follow St. Therese of the Little Flower’s simple advice and offer up this powerful prayer: “Jesus, I trust in you!”
Jim Gorski is a 57-year-old father of four children who has been married to the same woman for 34 years. He completed his master’s degree in social work in 1984 and has directed church music groups for the past 39 years. He remains a grateful child of the most high God and strives to trust in God’s loving mercy and His ability to provide for Jim’s every need.