Letting God's light shine through

I was wondering what other people do when they feel God is far away. I know in my head He is near, but in my heart I don’t. I have a strong faith and pull to persevere in my faith which is very confusing to explain to others (and even myself) since I feel TOTALLY abandoned right now.

As I have shared in other posts, I have not worked in over a year. I have had interviews recently and not gotten the job. The pain that creates puts me in a situation that I am so scared to be hurt again, I need at least a week to ‘get over it’ before I can find the strength to apply for a job again.

I want to put all my faith in God and accept these trials are for his glory. However, there is always that nagging voice in my head ‘maybe He has spoken to you, you just did not hear it’

Please, no one say ‘this is a tough economy’. I am NOT looking for advice on how to find a job, I have plenty of employment resources at my disposal. I am looking for how people turned to God and saw His light when they were struggling with issues. Any issue to talk about is OK

Angie

If you’re looking for personal accounts along those lines, I would suggest looking through vocation stories, especially some of the saints stories (or even the vocations forum we have here on Catholic Answers).

I can tell you, through firsthand experience, that people going through the question of vocation struggle quite hard with whether God is asking them to go one way, or another. Yet, in the end, I believe that most find that God speaks through the little things in life.

If you’re looking for a biblical account, the book of Job would probably be a good place to start (i.e. it asks the classical question: “Why do the good suffer?”).

I will pray for you.

I don’t think I’d look at the trials as coming from God. What the Jews went through during WWII was not a trial sent by God. What people who lose their homes to a natural disaster is not a trial sent by God. The poor are not being given a trial sent by God.

Instead, the trials of life are part of living in this vale of tears instead of in heaven. The idea is not to see the trials as coming from God, but to see the trials as something God can use to form us into our true nature. Think of what Our Lord said of his own life on earth, when confronted with the man born blind:

*As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” * John 9:1-5

I’m going to append Letter 8 of the Screwtape Letters. In it, a devil considers what use God might make of the dry periods or times of trial that we go through, even the periods when God chooses not to give as many immediate consolations, and plans how to work against those plans. It is very cleverly written, and I think perhaps it might encourage you now. (Boldface mine, of course.)

*My dear Wormwood,

So you ‘have great hopes that the patient’s religious phase is dying away’, have you? I always thought the Training College had gone to pieces since they put old Subgob at the head of it, and now I am sure. Has no one every told you about the law of Undulation?
Humans are amphibians-- half spirit and half animal. (The Enemy’s determination to produce such a revolting hybrid was one of the things that determined Our Father to withdraw his support from Him.) As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for as to be in time means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation-- the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks. If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every department of his life-- his interest in his work, his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down. As long as he lives on earth periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty. The dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon which will do us no good unless you make a good use of it.
To decide what the best use of it is, you must ask what use the Enemy wants to make of it, and then do the opposite. Now it may surprise you to learn that in His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. The reason is this. To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself-- creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because he has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.
And that is where the troughs come in. You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve. He is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs-- to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot ‘tempt’ to virtual as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.
But of course the troughs afford opportunities to our side also. Next week I will give you some hints on how to exploit them,

You affectionate uncle
Screwtape*

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++

God’s Spirit is in my heart,
He has called me and set me apart.
This is what I have to do,
what I have to do.

He sent me to give the Good News to the poor,
Tell prisoners that they are prisoners no more,
Tell blind people that they can see,
And set the downtrodden free
And go tell everyone the news that the Kingdom of God has come,
And go tell everyone the news that the Kingdom of God has come.

Just as the Father sent me,
So I’m sending you out to be
My witnesses throughout the world,
The whole of the world.

Don’t worry what you have to say,
Don’t worry because on that day
God’s Spirit will speak in your heart,
Will speak in your heart.

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