I wonder what it will take for people to believe in God again.
We are blessed here in the Philippines because many of us still believe in God. But, in many other countries, more and more people are no longer believing in God. Worse, many Catholics and Christians are mocked for their faith, for believing in a God they cannot see.
Now, more than ever, the knowledge of people has advanced so much especially in the fields of technology and medicine. Nothing seems to be out of man’s reach. We have even found ways to conceive in unnatural ways and defy the laws of nature.
That’s why people think that they no longer need God, that He is not real, that they could do anything without God.
(But the more progress we make, the sadder and emptier people seem to become. Many people are lost or depressed or lacking purpose or direction. But that’s for another post.)
In the Bible, whenever the Israelites became comfortable in the land of milk and honey, they began to think that God is not real, that they could do everything without God, that they did not need God.
They would turn to false gods, seek their own pleasure and happiness above all, sometimes at the expense of others, and become indifferent to the sufferings of others. (Sounds familiar, right?)
But, sin always has consequences. One of these consequences is suffering. (Suffering is not a punishment from God, but the consequences of our sins.)
In today’s first reading, God told Ezekiel to prophesize about the Israelites’ exile — an exile from the promised land that would bring much pain and suffering should they continue living in sin and apostasy.
The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, you live in the midst of a rebellious house; they have eyes to see but do not see, and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious house.
Now, son of man, during the day while they are looking on, prepare your baggage as though for exile, and again while they are looking on, migrate from where you live to another place; perhaps they will see that they are a rebellious house. — Ezekiel 12:1-3
This prohecy would come to pass as the Israelites and Jews were later exiled and scattered to Assyria and Babylon where they would suffer a great deal.
But, it was during this time of exile and suffering when they turned back to God.
And maybe this is the reason why God allows suffering in our lives — so we will turn to Him, seek Him, depend on Him, trust Him, and know that we are truly nothing without Him.
Maybe suffering is what it will take for all of us to turn to God again.
But, do we really need to wait for wars, for suffering, for climate change before we turn back to the Father and change our ways?