by Dr Marwa Assar
We as human are very uncomfortable with uncertainty. God says in the Qur’an “Indeed, mankind was created anxious” (Qur’an, 70:19). We like the world to be fully explained. We like events and circumstances to be connected and explicable. We appreciate the “cause and effect” stories because it helps us feel more secure. If we know that eating a certain food causes cancer, then all we have to do is avoid that food. And if we know that another kind of food protects us from cancer, then all we have to do is eat more of that food. Cause and effect is what we want to hear because it gives us a feeling of control over our lives. But what happens when we hear of the person who ate all the right things and still got cancer? What happens when we hear that the person who exercised and ate healthier than any of us died from heart disease? What happens when we witness outcomes and events that cannot be explained simply by cause and effect? We become confused, disappointed, disheartened. We feel like we have no control. And when we lose control, we desperately want to connect ourselves with those who we think have control. As human beings, our hearts constantly long to feel connected. It gives us the sense of safety and security.
It would feel good to be connected to the best oncologist if we ever did get cancer. It would feel good to be connected to the best lawyer if we ever got into legal trouble. Those connections provide us with security when we realize we can’t provide it to ourselves. But what happens when those connections fail too? We are overwhelmed with feelings of powerlessness, frustration, and anger. We hate it when the most educated doctors, scientists, and scholars can’t explain why something happened. We hate it when there is no remedy for the situation we are in. We hate when things just can’t be explained. And when all our resources have failed, we get agitated when someone suggests that we turn to God for help. Now THAT sounds foolish. “How is that going to help?” “Faith cannot provide me with the answers I want.” That is true.
Faith is not meant to provide us with the answers we want in that moment, nor is it an instant solution to the problem we are trying to fix. It provides us with something far greater. It provides us with the connection to the One who has all the resources, provides all the solutions, and possesses all the control.
When we have no way out, we realize our own fragility and the fragility of His creation. The logic we depended on to understand the world isn’t enough. The people are limited. Resources are dry. Doors are slammed shut despite our constant knocking. This isn’t a coincidence. This isn’t a disaster. It is a redirection and an awakening. The problem was there to help us navigate our way to the One whose door was open all along and whose resources never dry. These tests are there to remind us of His presence when we have been deluded to think we are not in need of Him. It is that very problem, those moments of helplessness, that guided us to our knees, humbled before the One who is in complete control. That connection is the solution, not only because it provided us with comfort and tranquility, but also because it ignites the heart with the acceptance that we might not have all the answers to why things happen to us, but we have a connection to the One who does.