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Echoes in a dark cave


Margaret Brown is one of The Resident’s longest standing contributors and has lived in the Algarve for more than 20 years. As well as Point of View, she also writes Country Matters twice a month.

SOMETIMES THE presence of God is all about us but at other times, there is an empty void and our prayers come back like echoes in a dark cave.

Perhaps constant petitioning is the answer but with repetition, words lose their meaning and fall back unheard. Where do you turn to unless to examine why, when help is most needed, there is silence.

The Bible is very clear about this and has no soft answers to jolly us along. In the Gospel of John (15 v 7): “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you” and again (3 v 22): “Whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight”.

The 40 days of Lent are there to review the past year and one’s conscience in order to be a better Christian and a nicer person in the months ahead. Some of us have much thinking to do, a salutary exercise of self examination followed by a determination to do better: and perhaps without this, although we pray long and hard, our words fall on stony ground.

However, much as we may try to keep God’s Commandments, from time to time the gap is so wide and the mountain so high to scale that it is easier to slide to the bottom and start again: or to give up altogether.

How do so many people manage to follow none of the monotheistic faiths yet live decent, kind and honourable lives: and practicing Christians so often fall short of following the will of God?

It is the human way from the time of Adam and the answer will be found only at the place from which we cannot return.