God is extremely wealthy and powerful; in fact He owns the universe and everything in it, but how come He is not as famous as the rich celebrities of Hollywood or as those individuals in the corridors of power. God, not only that He knows everything and loves us dearly He is in fact the wisdom and the love itself, but many still question the integrity of His actions and very few find Him lovable.
I think St. Teresa has a clue…
St. Teresa of Avila was not just a quiet, placid saint. She had an endearing, natural quality; her life energy attracted and inspired many who were close. They admired her for both her outer charm and inner serenity. She had frequent divine visitations that resulted in various profound miraculous revelations. But at the same time, her spiritual experiences caused jealousy, suspicions and fierce criticism from the orthodox religious upper echelons.
Shortly after becoming a nun, Avila experienced a severe illness (malaria), which left her in great pain for a long period. At one point, it was feared that her illness was so severe that she would not be able to recover. When she had a seizure, people were so convinced she was dead that after she woke up four days later she learned they had dug a grave for her. Afterwards she was paralyzed for three years and was never completely well.
All these left St. Teresa with more questions than answers. She failed to understand why would the loving God permit her to go through so much suffering. On one occasion, Avila complained to God about her mistreatment from so many different people. God replied to her saying,
“That is how I always treat my friends”. With good humor St. Teresa replied, “That must be why you have so few friends”. (Story by http://www.biographyonline.net)
The truth is that God has so many friends, but not so many of God’s friends find Him friendly. Another way of saying this is that God sees (and treats) us as His friends but not every one of us regards Him as such. The Bible says God loved the world so much so He created it and gave His only son Jesus to die for its redemption.
So the question is not whether God has few friends, but rather why only a handful of God’s many friends regard Him as their friend?
God does not explain Himself because He is the Boss, He’s not obliged to explain everything to His creation. However, often times God does not explain His complex actions to us due to our inability to comprehend. For God to try to explain some of His actions to us would be like trying to explain the laws of quantum physics to a one-year-old child.
So God does go ahead with His moral plans even if His friends perceive them as controversial. As many responsible parents would agree not all actions taken in childrens’ best interests would be popular with children until, of course, when they are older and find themselves in a similar situation.
Sometimes, like in the case of St. Teresa, God does explain His actions to us, though it takes time we finally get the point.
I believe God’s unconditional love is often lost in translation. God’s plans and actions are based on His abstruse wisdom, power and love. No matter how uncomfortable we might feel God does everything for our eventual good.
People that really appreciate God’s friendship are those that trust Him even when they don’t fully understand Him. These are they that truly believe that God – being ever knowing, powerful and loving – can never allow anything to come their way unless it is for their ultimate benefit and for His eternal glory. Such people, though often find themselves in periods of intense pain, still experience an inner sense of peace. Their intimate experiences of joy and peace seem to transcend the intense physical and emotional pain.
“I bore these sufferings with heroic composure, in fact with joy, except at first when the pain was too severe. What followed seemed to hurt less. I was completely surrendered to the will of God even if he intended to burden me like this forever…” St. Teresa later described her state of mind after a friendly conversation with her Friend, God.
Life in this world is sweet though not always enjoyable. Often times than not we find ourselves in deep pain and despair; but God the architect of this magnificent project called universe knows what He is doing.
I, for one, I’m pleased to remind you that this world is not a finished product yet. Although everything is going according to plan, God’s project is still very much in progress. One day when all has been said and done every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that God is truly a wise, powerful and loving friend.
As for me I don’t need to wait until that fateful day to worship my God and enjoy His friendship. Right here, right now and in whatever situation, I will praise my God for I know He is the Lord.
I find Him to be faithful, magnificent, brilliant, powerful, loving and a good friend… always!