Thursday, March 20, 2014

At ease with God

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
March 23, 2014

John 4:5-42

The scene is captivating. Tired from the journey, Jesus sits down next to Jacob's well. Soon, a woman comes to draw water. She belongs to a semi-pagan people, despised by the Jews. Spontaneously, Jesus initiates the conversation. He doesn't look at anyone with contempt but with great tenderness. "Woman, give me a drink."

The woman is surprised. How does he dare come in contact with a Samaritan? How does he lower himself to talk with an unknown woman? Jesus' words surprise her even more: "If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

Many are those who, over the years, have moved away from God without even being aware of what is happening inside them. Today God is a "strange being" to them. Everything related to Him seems empty and meaningless to them -- a childish world, more and more distant.

I understand them. I know what they might be feeling. I too have been moving away little by little from the "God of my childhood" who stirred up so much fear, unease, and discomfort in me . Without Jesus I probably never would have met a God who is for me today a Mystery of goodness, a friendly and welcoming presence in whom I can always trust.

The task of verifying my faith through scientific proofs has never attracted me. I think it's a mistake to treat the mystery of God as if it were a laboratory object. Nor have religious dogmas helped me find God. I've simply let myself be led by a trust in Jesus that has grown over the years.

I couldn't say exactly how my faith is sustained today amid a religious crisis that is shaking me as well as everybody. I would only say that Jesus has brought me to experience faith in God simply from the bottom of my being. If I listen, God isn't silent. If I open up, He doesn't close Himself in. If I trust Him, He accepts me. If I surrender, He sustains me. If I'm drowning, He lifts me up.

I think that the first and most important experience is finding ourselves at ease with God because we see Him as a "saving presence." When a person knows what it is to be at ease with God because, despite our mediocrity, our mistakes and selfishness, He welcomes us as we are and impels us to face life calmly, it will be hard for them to abandon the faith. Many people today are abandoning God before they've gotten to know Him. If they knew the experience of God that Jesus was spreading, they would seek Him.

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