I have struggled spiritually so much over the last several years. When you reach a dark place, it is very difficult to train your eyes to see even the tiniest spark of light. I would dare to say so hard that often in despair you close your eyes and surrender to the darkness. This is where I have been.
As I struggle back to the surface, trying to find some grounding, and allowing my eyes to adjust to light and my heart to surrender to the love that surrounds me, I see a flaw in how I have viewed God. So much of what we're taught about God makes us think of our relationships to him as "cause and effect". Do good things and be rewarded. Do bad things and be punished. It leaves a person in a bad situation to believe that they have deserved what they got, they were the map that led to this destination, the magnet drawing in the negative consequences. This line of thinking leaves a person in despair, hopeless, drowning without a life raft.
I have come to understand that good things often happen to people who do not deserve them. David knew this (Psalm 73) when he lost his footing at the sight of the prosperity of the wicked.
I have also seen good people suffer through ungodly circumstances. If this were not so, how would we account for babies born addicted to crack before even living one day on this earth? How would we account for the atrocities of war, the holocaust, the elderly rotting in nursing homes day after day with little more than having their basic needs met?
Our culture tells us that we are rewarded or punished for our deeds, and somehow this concept has been applied to God and spiritual things. I know it is not true. Moment by moment, in my pain and suffering, He has not abandoned me. I have suffered things I know that I do not deserve, but I know that through it all He has not abandoned me. He has been beside me all the way. My pain is His pain. It was for the hurts of humanity that Christ went to the cross. The next time I am tempted to close my eyes in despair and let the darkness swallow me, I will remember I am not alone.