“Wow! That was amazing! I am totally feeling God right now!” said Claire with as much enthusiasm as a kitten in a box of string. Church always had a way of making her feel extra high.
“You liked it too didn’t you, Henry?” Claire probed her younger brother. Henry became a Christian shortly after she did. This, of course, delighted her more than anything else in the world. And yet she couldn’t help but worry…
“Yeah, it was good.” he answered, indifferently.
… that maybe he wasn’t getting into it as much as she was. Claire noticed this the first time that she was filled with the Holy Spirit. After rolling around on the floor in fits of laughter for a good hour, she stole a quick glance at Henry; who was merely leaning against the wall, staring vacantly at the ceiling.
‘Why is he always so down? Isn’t Christianity all about being joyful and stuff?’.
She often felt frustrated by such thoughts.
“Leave me alone! I’m not going to church today!” said Claire, exasperated at Henry’s unwelcome invitation. Right now God was the last thing she wanted to think about. Her parents had been arguing more frequently than usual, sometimes her Father would storm out of the house at night and not come back for days. The idea of them splitting up tormented Claire so much that she could barely get out of bed in the morning- let alone go to church. And Henry’s impassive personality was only adding to her distress.
Why isn’t he miserable like I am? Doesn’t he care that our parents might end up getting divorced? How can he think about God now when everything’s so messed up?
Claire convinced herself that she was going to confront Henry about his attitude. And so when he arrived back from church with that familiar look of nonchalance on his face, she took it as encouragement to go through with her assault.
“Hey, how was church?” she said with a provoking tone.
“It was good. You all right?” he replied, seemingly unaware of the atmosphere.
“No Henry, I’m not all right. In fact, I’m all wrong and I don’t see how you can be any different. Darn it, Henry don’t you even realize what’s going on? We are in the middle of a serious family crisis and you’re lolling off to church like nothing's wrong! What’s with you? Don‘t you have any feelings!?”
She knew later she’d regret saying that last part, but right now she didn’t care. She was desperate to get an emotional reaction out of him.
“Oh boy. I was worried you’d get like this...” his voice was unwavering, and this cut Claire completely off from her train of thought. She was now experiencing a new realm of confusion.
“Listen, I know I seem like a robot to you, but please try to understand. It’s not that I don’t have any emotions, it’s just that I try my best to not let them control my actions…”
At this point Henry paused and waited, as if to see whether what he’d said had made sense to her. Claire blinked. He continued, apparently satisfied.
“…When we’d come back from church you were always so happy. You’d say things like ‘God is so great!’ and ‘Wow, I really felt God today!’. Right?”
Claire nodded, although she wasn’t completely following where he was going with this.
“I‘m not saying that’s a bad thing. It’s just that when things aren’t going so well you tend to apply the same attitude, as if suddenly God isn’t so good anymore just because life has taken a turn for the worse.”
Ah… Claire thought. That one rang a bell.
“All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t let your emotions dictate your faith in God. Pastor Steven once told me that in between the ups and downs of life there’s a line of truth that never changes. And it’s that truth that should be the foundation of your faith.”
At this tears began to brim at the bottom of her eyes. She knew he was right, yet she couldn’t find it in her heart to be consoled.
“Oh Henry, I’m sorry. It’s just so hard to see God when things are messed up like they are right now.”
He lay a firm but soothing hand on her shoulder and gently spoke;
“It’s all right, we’ll get through this. I’m always with you and so is God.”
Together, they wept.
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