What do you do when the church you attend makes you mad? Do you continue to attend? Do you drop them and look for a new one? Or, do you find your own way without a church? I’m wrestling with these questions after a recent service, actually, several services and issues that I’ve had that have brought me to this conclusion. Last Saturday, the pastor was talking about healing. If you know me, you know that I live with chronic illness (fibromyalgia, arthritis and depression). I have always been a spiritual person my entire life and believe that I treat others with compassion and always keep in mind, literally, what would Jesus do? So the idea that I should pray and ask God for healing is beyond me. Certainly, I believe that through God all things are possible. However, I also believe that I am not being punished, therefore, there’s nothing I’ve done to ask forgiveness for or beg for healing. I pray every single day. I feel I have a wonderful relationship with God. Yet, I wake every single day with the same chronic pain that I’ve dealt with for over three years.
Does this mean I’m not praying hard enough? How does one pray enough? How does one actually “heal” from an illness? Should those with Cancer find they are healed after a session with my pastor? I have heard stories of people finding their Cancer in remission and, in some cases, gone, and they give all glory to God, who they’ve said has cured them. My thought though is, how do you explain a baby or infant who has an illness? Surely, they haven’t caused the illness upon themselves and God chose to have them born this way. Unless, the church would believe that the child is taking on the sins of their parents? If so, that is just an awful way at looking at life. It’s not foreign to me though. A former coworker said quite the similar to me when I shared that I was diagnosed with chronic pain. She said that I was being punished for the sins of my ancestors. How could anyone say this to anyone else that is suffering, yet consider themselves Christian?
I am ashamed at many things that occur in my faith of Christianity. Recently, there was a lot of support for a restaurant who said that God does not accept homosexuals and was proud of their stance against gay marriage. Many Christians flocked to that restaurant to give it their greatest day in sales. I am appalled at those who use Jesus to spew their hatred. I could never see Jesus in the way that many Christians do. I suppose I shouldn’t even call myself “Christian” because I am extremely open-minded to other faiths. Many Christians would consider my openness to Buddhism to be cult-like. Give me a break!
Because of my illness, I “attend” online church services. Which is a luxury because I can chose where I want to go in the world. I’m going to do some research to find out what other churches are out there. I enjoy “attending” church and would hate to not have that part of my life. However, it’s not worth it if I’m going to feel bad about myself or degrade myself for not praying hard enough. Someday my illness will make sense. Until then, I tend to focus on the blessings in my life. I don’t focus on my illness. I don’t view it as punishment and I certainly never blame God for it.
God has blessed me in many ways. That is what I choose to focus on.