gift

since i can’t write at the moment, i’ve been generating all kinds of ideas for what i can do in case i have to drop out of school. yes – it would be really unfortunate to have finished your course work and not graduate because you can’t turn in a thesis. i really love theology/philosophy of religion. i think i even have theological/philosophical talent! so why can’t i write a paper when i’ve written so many papers in my life already?

i must say that i was feeling really horrible over the weekend and earlier today. and then when i started taking ativan which my doctor called into a pharmacy (okay she faxed it in b/c the law requires it), i feel infinitely better! infinitely and a bout a gazillion galaxies better! i always think to myself, after i take a medicine that works to relieve the emotional/physical pain and suffering, why didn’t i take the medicine earlier? like why did i refuse meds the first time i had a depression episode? i could have been so much more productive and felt so much better!

if you have a medicine that works for you (for physical or mental illness), take it! it’s a gift from god!

i didn’t think about medicine as god’s grace being extended to me. if i had thought of things that way, and took meds earlier, i think i would be a different person right now.

strangely

for a long time, i felt distant from god and couldn’t pray as i had before. and then when a friend told me last week about her health condition (that she may find out in a week whether she has a limited time to live), i started praying for her and am finding that i feel different when i pray.  in desperation i prayed as i felt the urgency of the need for god. i mean, i had been praying before but maybe without the sense of urgency, like if things were a matter of life and death. and these days at morning prayer, we really do pray for the life or death of our friend. and something in me has changed. of course i can’t heal my friend. i’m not even sure how much the doctors could do even if they discover that she needs treatment. whether for good or bad, i feel a sense of peace. no doubt, last week when i heard the news i was really disturbed. but now i feel that we are all going to be fine.

petitionary prayer and faith

as i have done for the past three years or so, i went to morning prayer today. and i wondered, why should any of the prayers we pray matter? why should god who created the universe care or help me to finish my semester at school or to have more wisdom?

a few years ago, i wrote a paper on petitionary prayer. my thesis was that petitionary prayers play an indispensable role in our sanctification process: as our prayers get answered (or not answered) we learn about the character of god and as we pray we experience god of the universe as our god.

i don’t know how job or st. paul kept up their faith in god. sure when things are going well, you can believe that god is for you. ironically, at those moments you might forget about god because you don’t need god to help you. but when things are going badly and take a turn for the worst, people tend to turn to god and ask god for help. and in such difficult times, god may be more real to you and you may rely on god more for everything because you can’t rely on anything else.

but what happens when a bad thing happens and another bad thing and another bad thing happen to a person? i don’t mean that things that happen have to be viwed as “objectively” morally a bad thing. but when someone feels that gods is not with them, that god is not for them, what happens to one’s faith?

i’ve been told in the past to seek god more in times of trouble: read the scripture, spend time in prayer, and rely on your community of faith. but what happens when those things fall through as well? then i suppose, you still read the scripture, pray to god more even if you are praying that you don’t know what to pray, and tell others to pray for you.

i’m reminded of prosperity gospel – people counting on god to bless them b/c they believe that god is good, and perhaps also b/c they believe their works warrant their blessing. most people would say, no god never promised happiness just that god would be with us through it all, the good, the bad, the happy as well as the sad moments. but what does it take for one to say, god is not for me (as opposed to god being for you, showing you favor). more importantly, when you have been pushed to the edge, to your limits, how can you turn back to god?

god doesn’t test us more than we can bear, right? the bible says so. probably god knows what your limits are. but when you feel that you have been pushed and pushed to the point you can’t bear the pain, suffering, disappointment, despair anymore, what then?

note to self: top five reasons for not killing myself

1. there will be no self/consciousness as i know it. sure enough i believe in an after life (a happy one at that – one with jesus). but will “life” after death be of the same kind as life as i know it? i don’t think so. (and this is a bad thing?)

2. people will have to tell my nieces and nephews that they used to have an aunt who loved them alot! i mean a lot! and my family members (especially my siblings) and my friends would be heart-broken. (but would they prefer a living aunt/sister/daughter/friend who is suffering immensely from depression?)

3. family reputation (especially that of my mom and dad) will be ruined. (i see no way out of this one.)

4. if i should fail in killing myself i will once again end up in the ER then in the psych ward for only god knows how long. and my doctors might decide to do ECT on me, what is left of me anyway. (the best deterrent for not killing myself if there ever was one)

5. i can’t think of the fifth reason…maybe god would be disappointed? (i don’t really believe that god would be disappointed. i mean, isn’t god permitting me and apostle paul with the thorn on his side and all to suffer?)

i believe – help my unbelief

wow.  time is passing by fast even when i am visiting my parents in korea.  today is christmas eve and it’s just another day, well, except that i’ll be spending the night at church.

yesterday at church, the pastor said the meaning of christmas was christ worship.  and i wonder how many people even know that’s what the word means! 

lately, i have been reflecting on whether, how much, and in what nature i believe in God.  it’s been super difficult to pray to God.  part of the reason is my recent struggles with depression.  i seem to be doing worse, not better.  and part of the reason has to do with what i’m reading/learning in my theology class.  i was brought up to believe in god who wants to bless us, loves us, and cares about us.  that is to say i believe/d in a personal god.  but the more i study theology i realize that the god i believe in is boxed in my what i want god to be, and not actually who god might be.  i mean who really knows what god is like anyway right?  but some theories sound more convincing than others, that is for sure. 

i still pray, prayers half-filled with unbelief.  i go to church but reluctantly, wondering what worshipping an impersonal god means.  can one maintain one’s faith while the conception of god which one previously held on to is going through radical change?  it seems that there is/must be a kind of a suspension in belief.  while the belief in god is going through radical revisions, it’s difficult even to know what one believes in. 

so as for the meaning of christmas, to be honest, i’m not sure what i believe or feel about it.  presents have been exchanged already in my family and tomorrow morning, we’ll rush to get to church and then head out for a family trip.