I do not doubt that it was You who called me, with so much love and force. It was you. I know. That is why the work is yours and it is You even now - but I have no faith - I don't believe.
-Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light
The new book, Come Be My Light, reveals the deep doubts and loss of faith that the one woman on all the Earth we would least expect such sentiments from - Mother Teresa. This is the woman who worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor and sick, not just in Calcutta but around the world. When the book first appeared, some people were shocked by these revelations and some even expressed losing their own faith because of it, reasoning that if Mother Teresa had doubts what hope is there for the rest of us?
I had the opposite reaction. It comforted me to know that Mother Teresa lost her faith from time to time - or she lost her faith for the last fifty or so years of her work. It made me feel much better about my own lack of faith sometimes. If even someone like Mother Teresa, who did great works despite her doubts, can fail in her faith then I must be on the right track.
I have had moments where I'm not sure if God even exists, let alone gives a fig about any of us. I look around at the war, the pure evil being displayed by elected officials and their minions, and I have to stop and wonder - if God exists is he even paying attention?
Over at Street Prophets, their latest Progressive Bible Study posits that if we believe God is almighty then we have to ascribe even evil to God. This is the world view of ancient Hebrews who would rather have a monotheistic God responsible for both evil and good than be accused of polytheism by believing in an equal opposing force of evil.
A God that perpetrates both good and evil is too much for me to wrap my mind around right now. If I believed God created both good and evil, I don't think I'd believe in that God for long. I know God makes it rain on both the evil and the good, but that's an affirmation that shit happens, whether you're good or evil. That's wholly different than God creating evil.
I have to believe in a good God - a God that does both evil and good makes no sense to me - but perhaps that's the point. Perhaps that's where Mother Teresa lost her faith. She toiled so hard against the evil in the world and hardly ever saw a glimmer of God's goodness. In that situation, I guess it would be hard to believe in a God that is only good.
When we try to nail God down, God always eludes our easy definitions and wiggles out of our expectations. Perhaps God does perpetrate both good and evil. Perhaps God isn't the Pollyanna, bleeding heart liberal I wish She would be. Perhaps, all I can really say is, "God is ..." and leave the rest to God.