Faith: Losing and Finding It


I am a 26 year old women who was recently married. Within the past two years I have dropped out of medical school and had to have an abortion (both not by choice). Both these events have caused me to loose faith. I have tried to meditate and find peace inside but for some reason I can't find it. Can you please help me find a way to reconnect spiritually?

—Maya, USA


Dear Maya:

These sound like traumatic losses for you. It can’t have been easy for you. Is your marriage a compensation for these losses or are your losses the result of your marriage? A hard question, but I ask because you say you have lost faith, but you don’t say faith in what.

Have you lost faith in the idea that your life will turn out as you hoped it would? Or faith in your ability to carry to completion what you set out to do? Is it in others that you have lost faith that they will act in kindness, or in accordance with your wishes for yourself?

Or do you mean, as is most likely, that you have lost faith in God?

Yesterday (October 10, 2010) as it happened the scripture passage for Sunday Service was Jesus saying, “I come not to bring peace, but a sword… [Matt. 10:34-49]. I used your letter as the starting point for the sermon (which you can hear at, click on talks/newsletters).

What Jesus is addressing in that passage is exactly what you are talking about in your letter. He speaks of dividing the devotee from everyone (and, by implication, everything) that is dear to him. In my sermon, I asked the obvious question, “Why would anyone follow such a God?” Which, in a sense, is the question you are asking.

You are at a crossroads in your relationship with God. I don’t know anything about your life, so forgive me if I am presuming too much, but perhaps until now you and God were pretty much in agreement. Such “faith” would be more like the comfort of Him not contradicting your wishes.

What happens, though, when He does? Well, what you describe is that the relationship goes on the rocks. And there is no going back. You’ll have to find a broader, more mature way of relating.

Have you ever experienced inwardly God’s loving care? Have you ever seen examples in your own life, or the lives of others, that show you there is a Wisdom greater than your own guiding your destiny? Can you imagine that there might be a Plan that isn’t obvious to you now?

These are the divine insights you have to bring to bear now in order to weather this storm of trials without simply giving up. It is a great temptation to give up. That is why such events are called “tests.” Do you only love Him when He gives you what you want? The same question will arise inevitably in your marriage and every other relationship in your life. Love based only on whether or not the other person pleases you is not very deep. God wants more from us than just that.

To answer my earlier question, “Why would anyone follow such a God?” The answer is this: God takes from our hands those things to which we cling in order to fill our hands, hearts, and minds with Love and Joy far greater than we can even imagine.

“Enjoyable beyond imagination of expectancy,” is how Paramhansa Yogananda described it. Yes, it is an act of faith to believe that. But if you are attentive, you will get glimmers of it coming long before the full Infinite Glory descends.

That is what his listeners must have felt when Jesus spoke those challenging words. At the same moment that he was speaking words of loss, his very consciousness must have been filling them with the spirit of Joy. Otherwise no one would have followed him.

Much of this is intuitive, and can’t be found by reason alone. Even if your meditation is not bearing much fruit at this moment, it is important that you persevere, in that and every other spiritual practice you can. Because only when you experience for yourself the greater love of God behind all the everyday incidents of life, will your faith return – deeper, stronger, and more resilient.

In the meantime, I also encourage you to consider the questions asked at the beginning of this now rather long answer. How much of your lack of inner peace is the result of resentment, or disappointment not so much in God but in yourself or others? Often challenging events are not meant to be accepted passively, but are a call for us to stand up and take charge of our own destiny. Consider if that, too, is part of what is happening now for you.


Nayaswami Asha