(Losing my faith) Are events in my life guided by God or chance?


#1

It seems increasingly like God’s will is, or events in my life – to which I appear to affix meaning in trying to reach God the Father or have a relationship with Jesus his Son – are, nothing more than chance or happenstance. That is, I see a physical event, that looks like it happened “by accident”, or coincidentally, or by chance, and then I try to attach spiritual Christian meaning to it.

So, I feel like I’m turning into an agnostic, regardless of how I’ve tried to be a devout Catholic (to the point where I receive the Eucharist Sundays on my knees, singing in the choir, while every day reading the Bible, trying my hardest to avoid sin, especially grave sexual sin to which I have been addicted). I’ve tried praying to Jesus, Mary, and the Father (and although the Holy Spirit is a person, I am extremely confused about him; it seems like he doesn’t carry relationships with us, only makes known God’s will?), yet continue to feel that I am in a very dark place. Prayers go unanswered, or are answered, or appear to be subject to chance.

Part of this may be a damaged sexual identity, for which I think I need professional counseling; but I don’t know what – or what else – to do. Part of it is a result of looking at the world, and the more I look at it, the more I see people who have not been blessed as I have, suffering that makes God appear more as a bystander than someone who is everywhere, in all things, always in control. (I suppose you’ve all heard the other agnostic arguments.)

Do you have any help for me? Despite the crucifix, and Jesus’ (salvific) passion (salvific: which I don’t understand), I also feel or have no assurance that God actually loves me.


#2

Not everything that “happens” is caused by God. Many things happen because of our own actions and God allows them to happen as a consequence. He gave us free will, so consequences will happen. Now, when you pray for something, sometimes God will not grant what you want… remember that we may ask but we must remember that God knows best and we must resign ourselves to happily accept that. So, don’t be discouraged if God doesn’t appear to “answer” your prayers, He hears you, but sometimes He says …No, I have better plans for you. Wait and have faith in Me.

The problem is that you are trying to do this all by yourself. Go find a place that you can pray and talk to Jesus while the Blessed Sacrament is displayed for adoration. Talk to HIm, tell Him you need help. If you cannot find a place with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament…pray to Jesus and tell Him you need His help to believe. Ask Him to change you into whatever He wants you to be…that you are His to mold…give yourself up to Him…and I guarantee, He will mold your heart to know Him as Truth and Love. The Holy Spirit will also come to you and you will feel His presence. You must pray daily…prayer is conversation with God. If you don’t know what to say, you can read prayers until you feel you know what to say…or you can just sit and talk to God. I will also recommend that you pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary for her intercession and help. She is Jesus’ mother and our mother too… she will help you. Pray her rosary every day and concentrate on the mysteries. There are a lot of sites that have rosary devotions…and some utube videos too…to help you. I am assuming you are a young person, and may need some help with these prayers, that is why I have given you this information.

Now, for help with temptations and issues about sexual sin, I suggest you read the Confessions of St. Augustine - He is a doctor of the church…and was a very sinful man before he was converted. Read what he has to say… then, also remember that you are a “tabernacle” of the Holy Spirit. Honor yourself. Remember that God is with you always. That always helps me to avoid temptation. And, call upon St. Michael if you need to. If Satan is relentless and taunting you, call on St. Michael the archangel to send him away from you.

God is always in control, but he created us with free will because he loves us. He wants our love to be given to Him freely. That’s why He gave us a free will. He loves us so much He chose not to enslave us, you understand…and He patiently waits for us to love Him back. If we don’t know Him…He waits for us to ask Him for His help… But he won’t force Himself on us… He loves us too much. With our free will also comes the ramifications of that free will. We do things and there are consequences… These are the laws that he set down…in nature, in physics… when something happens, there is a reaction to that action. This experience that we live in is by God’s design…He said the word and it became… the thought of that act makes me fall to my knees.

I hope I helped, if not I will check back. Yes, you may need some professional counseling… but I will suggest going to talk with Jesus in adoration before the exposed sacrament first… then talk to your priest, maybe he can suggest a Catholic counselor for you… or, maybe he can help you. Priests are trained to counsel people. God bless you.


#3

Much of the problem here is your reference frame. We are like ants. How can we possibly presume to understand everything God is doing in the world? If we could do that, God would be no wiser than we are, and we would all be God. The fact that we can’t understand what God is doing in everything around us proves only one thing: That God is greater than we are. If we could understand everything, then there would be serious reason to question our religion.

Ultimately, everything we do in life comes down to faith. If we believe in scientific theories, or in the accuracy of our mathematical equations, or in the utility of going to the gas pump when our car is running low, we are acting on belief. There are rational reasons for why we believe what we do, yet the final step is faith.

Faith is also virtuous. Can you imagine what a human family would look like if the child constantly distrusted his or her parents and demanded proof that they would do what they said they were going to do, and that they had their children’s best interests at heart? Can you imagine how that would wrench the parents’ hearts? The parents always provide for their children (I’m assuming good parents here), they show them their tender love constantly, and yet their children insist on proof and exact information rather than relying on faith.

Then consider how good the parents feel when their children show they trust them. Faith is virtuous. The relationships we have with our parents on Earth reflect the relationship humans have with God. Children, of course, aren’t relying on faith alone. They also have loads of evidence, reasons why they should trust their parents. The fact that they always show us love, that they nurture us and provide for our needs, causes us to trust them. God does the same thing with His children.

I recommend reading a few Christian apologetics books, so that you know what kinds of concrete evidence Catholics have to satisfy their reason. “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel is a good one. “The Incorruptibles,” a book available through amazon.com, I’ve heard, is also really good. Looking up Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Zeitoun online might also help. Eucharistic miracles also can be incredible. Reading about the signs God has performed through the saints may strengthen you as well. Or, if you like, read through this thread or this thread, Catholics on this forum sharing their personal stories of how God has moved in their lives or the lives of people they know, to see confirmation for your Catholic faith.

Look through this evidence and maybe talk to one or more of your local priests. Don’t try intellectualizing your way through all of this based on your own reasoning and your personal experience. The world is a lot bigger than that. I recommend praying for faith and looking at some of this evidence I’ve provided, to help make Catholicism logical to your mind.

But I know it’s not your mind that’s getting in your way so much as your lack of a personal, sensible spiritual experience with God. My thought on this, upon reading your post (and I could easily be completely wrong) is that you may be relying too much on your own effort to be a good Catholic and “make” God come to you and reveal Himself to you on your own terms, through your efforts or prayers. What I would advise is to pray for faith, to try to submit to God’s will whatever it is (even if it is the absence of that personal experience of the presence of God for as long as Jesus chooses), and to pray for the grace to be able to approach Him on His terms, in surrender of yourself and your life to Him. Pray also (though you may already have done this) to know personally His love for you and to recognize His voice when He speaks. But above all, focus on trying to prayerfully submit yourself to His will, in faith that it is Love, and pray for faith.

You can look at the apologetics sources and testimonies I provided you if you want evidence for God’s love, reality and power. I know you want a personal experience and I know just what that darkness, emptiness and dryness you’ve described feels like. I used to be there too. And I know just what your questioning feels like; I questioned too when I was there, when my faith was nothing more than a house of cards before my eyes that a faint breath of wind could have tumbled. I searched for a long time, and finally God came to me and proved Himself to me through a personal spiritual experience, and He has never left me since. You can’t rely on yourself though, or on your own wisdom. As the Scripture says, “Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Pray to approach Him in His way, pray for faith, and surrender to Him whatever of yourself there is, and ask Him to show you His love.


#4

This can actually be answered rather easily. The premise is false. The Catholic Church teaches that God created humans with Free Will, the ability to choose to do whatever they want to do in the world He has created for them. If He forced them to do good, or performed miracles to negate every bad thing they did, their good deeds would have no value because no one would have had the ability to do anything other than what they did. Is a computer likable because it is efficient at giving us access to information? It’s doing something we like, but it has no choice. It is only a tool. So is a sofa, though we like what it does for us. God wanted humans to be more than tools; indeed, to be made in His own image, powerful within our world, free and imaginative and possessing the use of reason. He made us people rather than robots.

Suffering, in all its forms, only entered the world because humans chose evil. We wouldn’t have had diseases or natural disasters or any of the rest if we didn’t choose evil. Humans originally lived in the midst of plenty, in the Garden of Eden.

As it currently stands, through His Cross, Christ sanctified all suffering. We all can become one with Him through suffering, one with His love, because it is most perfectly expressed through His sacrifice on the Cross. We can offer our sufferings to God in love. We have something great that we can give God, to be one with Him. Much more can be said about this, but I don’t have time now.

In any case, the agnostic arguments you heard are bogus because they are based on the faulty premise that God predestines everything to the T. This is the Calvinist heresy; it is contrary to the dogma of the Church. The agnostics you know do indeed have a legitimate complaint against the God of the Calvinist worldview.

If the Cross is not an assurance to you that God loves you, then the real question to you must be whether Jesus is God. To get proof for your reason of Jesus’ divinity, I recommend the apologetics resources I just referred to. But in the end, I think the answer for you needs to lie in trying to prayerfully (and earnestly) surrender and submit your whole life to God’s will, to pray for the grace to approach Him on His terms, and to pray for faith.


#5

G’day!
Today I was at the funeral of an accomplished young musician. He died on Thursday, his daughter was born on Monday…He’d fitted a great deal into his short, enthusiastic life, using the gifts he was given with skill and detemination…an unfinished life? And yet there was still a great sense of gratitude and hope in his mother and in his father, and other relatives. His music was played, beautiful haunting music, before the requiem Mass began…and in what was a sorrowful loss there was much peace and positive emotion throughout. I’ve seen this time and time again, more than just hope, more than just faith, but deep peace and community and a buoyancy of love and hope in Catholic funerals and wakes. When my mother died leaving nine children ranging from nineteen to four years old, even then, there was this spirit of something glorious, peaceful and beautiful.

Because grace doesn’t necessaritily come with clear labels. It subtly but powerfully embues everything and everyone with something more than is reasonable or realistic.

Yes there is much suffering, but God’s gifts are seldom neon lit. We have the gifts of nature God gives us, and it’s how we deal with the circumstances and relationships and our gifts that allows the grace to enter and lift all in our lives.

Our sufferings can become our gifts also if we live them with peace and grace. If nothing else…though hopefully we untie sufferings with the Lord’s…our sufferings can give us deeper appreciation and deeper empathy with others and therefore make us better able to convey love and understanding and support to them.

God gives you life and gifts, and part of the gift God has given you is the freewill to shape your daily life and future. We have the gifts to do this, and we can delight our Father by being creative and generous with our gifts, not to hold them close to ourselves and to even bury them, waiting for God to do what He has given us the ability to do.
As one person said, by the way,"When I pray, coincidences happen. When I don’t, they don’t.

God’s grace is in the ordinary things you do…and Jesus makes one of the most poweful statements of our lives in relation to Go, in a part of His life that is often overlooked.

If we must expect the extraordinary, then Jesus, God, Son of God, Saviour and Judge of all humankind should have incarnated as a wonderful adult man. But He didn’t. He came as a helpless infant who was born in an animal shelter, becae a refugee into Egypt with His mother and Joseph so he’d escape murder. He had to be wrapped to keep warm, needed diaper/nappy changes like any other baby, grew up as an ordinary child whom his fellow townsfolk would later reject as He seemed too ordinary. We see only one glimpse of His knowledge of Himself as the Son of God, at age 12, when He ditched His parents and taught in the Temple for three day, and when His distressed family caught up with Him, He said’ “Didn’t you know I must be about My Father’s business.”

He knew He was God, Saviour, teacher, Judge…but then he went back home and lived in quiet obedience for the next decade or so…and in this awesome but simple reality, Jesus has a powerful message to us human beings in the realities of our lives.

Was God not in Mary’s painful, jerking journey to Bethlehem just prior to Jesus’ birth…as one who travelled in an old car that kept breaking down in the summer heat of the Australin Outback as we travelled 1000 miles to the town we were moving to when I was 8 months pregnant with my first son, I have the greatest compassion for this exraordinary yet ordinary woman, our great Mother. I ended up in hospital, she had no hospital to go to. Mary this most privileged Mother, like her son, went through so much. She too had long stretches where she could only wonder, where she had only the memory of the Angel’s promise, and the memory of Jesus’ insightful escapade at age 12. Later, she heard the dangerous whispers, and her poor mother’s heart! She knew the growing danger he darling Son was facing, and I can only imagine how her heart was acerated in seeing thathe’d bee tortured, as He dragged along to calvary and hung dying on the cross, and how wretched she felt in seeing Him deserted by most of His friends as if His life was a failure. He dies like a criminal and a failure…and yes, later, He rose…but she lived through the misery and the ordinariness as truly as any of us. So did He.

So this silent gospel is God’s message to you dear friend.
And my answer to your question, which I know is a painful one.

With love, Trishie


#6

Unfortunately this is something that can only be solved by yourself. I know in my case, the thing that really gives me a strong Faith is that I have had a lot of things happen in my life that while they could technically be coincidence, the chance of that seems incredibly small to me. I do know what you mean though trying to attribute absolutely everything to God’s direct involvement. I guess that’s why discernment is so important, being able to tell the Truth from Lies from coincidence.

I will pray for you though. I hope you can get out of your dark place and see God’s light all around you, because it is there.


#7

I think all my events are guided by God. Nothing happens to me by chance, it has always been for a reason. God has taken me to places, only so I can see him there. At one time in my life I pushed God away, but he didn’t go anywhere, he has been with me all along. Today he is an active force in my life. That dark place you talked about. It is only the shadow of the outstreched hand of God getting ready to bless you. Good luck on your journey, and it is a journey. God Bless.


#8

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