In a moment of near rage, I once had a parishioner holler, “Why does God make everything so hard?!” It is a fair question, but not one that should be answered while someone is irrational. So, in this article, I want to address all of us who, at one time or another, have cried out, “Whey does God make everything so hard!”
Whenever one begins to ponder the faith, practice, and experience of God (theology), one must begin with prayer. When prayer concludes, then one begins to seek understanding. I’ve prayed for God to guide my understanding simply as an intellectual exercise. Also there have been moments I’ve come before God in prayer with almost the same words as the parishioner, emphatically demanding God provide some answers.
Amidst all my demand for understanding, God gave me other answers instead. God provided trust. Trust provides the comfort in accepting situations, even without knowing all the answers. Trust allows me to consider different understandings without fear of offending God with an inappropriate
Faith requires acceptance. When I come to the Scripture or to a theological concept for consideration, I try to open my mind to accept any option, no matter how silly or far-fetched. Then, I bring all the knowledge and tools at my disposal, in order to find the proper learning; all the while prayerfully willing to accept that I will never fully know.
At the end of prayer and study, each time, I am left to face my lack of understanding. Rather than let my frustration turn to bitterness or cynicism, I offer my lack of understanding back to God. Faith is the key to acceptance. Yet, acceptance does not free one from the responsibility of diligent work
This leads me back to my original concern. “Why does God make everything so hard!” If we were told everything, all we would have to do is simply learn it. Wisdom would transform into simple knowledge, which easily turns into pathetic trivia. There is nothing trivial about contemplating the divine. In reality our simplistic minds make it impossible to fully understand the divine, and forces God to provide us with subtle glimpses of God’s plan.
The very act of accepting the unknowable guides us to faith. God makes it so hard, so that we will be left with nothing but faith. All the prayer, study, trust, and acceptance leave us with just enough understanding to accept faith. Faith provides us with confidence to face a “hard,” unknowable life, with joy and thanksgiving.