And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Matthew 27:46

In our moment of affliction, do we fall and falter; or do we strengthen our faith? Faith becomes a living and breathing part of us when we practise it daily. It is only, ‘then’, that that our faith is there for us when we find ourselves facing that which is destined to afflict us.

Faith is not an easy journey. It requires us, many a times, to do what we would rather not do. We want the easy way out. We look for tricks and shortcuts. Sometimes, we even succeed. But, then, the day comes when we are face-to-face with our Maker. And perhaps, at that moment, the Maker asks us, “Why have you forsaken me?”

I have met many people; who even when touring temples, churches and other places of worship, proclaim out loud, “I do not believe.” They say the most inappropriate and insensitive things. They do not seem to understand that we are at a place of worship. It is a House of God.

Is it ‘different’ to other houses? It is, for it is created for the sole purpose of giving God a place to reside on Earth. Do we feel the presence of God when we are at these places? If we cannot feel it there, then where do we feel it?

Places of worship did not always exist. We can express our faith at an altar, a quiet room or even on a bus journey. We express our faith through our actions, our way of being and a general sense that we live our lives with the firm belief that there is a purpose to life; that we are accountable for our actions; and that there is more to this world than we will ever know and understand.

Sometimes, we wonder, especially when we have exhausted all conventional means; what am I to do about this affliction that is so big and so unbearable? Why won’t it just end?

When we pray, we often ask God to relieve us of our pain and suffering. We are looking for a way out. But God’s love for his Creation is too large, too incomprehensible and too all-encompassing. If only we knew, how to pray for strength to face the pain and suffering that we knew we would have to bear. If only we knew that, we would know that God will grant us the strength, the solution and the path.

We have existed with God in an eternal relationship that goes back to the dawn of time and all creation. Within this relationship, there can never be separation. It is a door that is always open and can never be shut. The pain and agony of what we perceived to be a separation is what caused our cry of despair. When, in fact, God has been with us. It is in those vulnerable and fragile moments, that God reaches out his hand to carry us.

When we are in a place where we feel despised and rejected, abused and slandered, misunderstood and forgotten; we cry out and ask, “Why have you forsaken me?” We are sensing the separation and are seeking reconciliation. And in that moment, if we reach out–instead of turn away–we will discover that we are all Children of God.

Jesus walking on water. Armenian manuscript. Daniel of Uranc Gospel.

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