My time in Dzaleka gave me some very interesting considerations about God.
Dzaleka is a refugee camp located in Malawi. Refugees fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi tend to go to Malawi, hoping for a better life or simply a life away from the conflict and terror of their homes.
The migration of these refugees, and of most refugees for that matter, is difficult, perilous, and dangerous. Refugees face much uncertainty when migrating, and often face extreme hardships along the way.
And yet despite these hardships, most of the refugees I’ve met are steadfast in their faith in God.
Which is something that confounds me. Why is it that these people, who have faced any number of things that God remained silent in, still hold to the belief in Him? The struggles in my life have left me feeling angry and frustrated by God’s silence, and I haven’t faced nearly the kind or frequency of hardships as others have. So why do they still believe?
I met two people in Dzaleka whose faith in God confounded me.
On one hand, I met an individual who saw God in all things. When this person made a friend, felt happy, or found pleasure in their life, all of it was attributed to God. This person, who has made the absolute best of the circumstances of their life, attributes their success to God.
On the other hand, I met an individual confined to a room for the last year, unable to move or take care of their family. When I asked if they believed in God, I received a resounding “yes!” The kind of “yes” that was a stark contrast to the “no”‘s I received when I asked if they were happy, if they were at peace, or if they had any hope for the future.
It’s the kind of thing that almost defies comprehension. Why do these people pore so much love and faith into a being that responds with silence? Why have this faith at all, when one faces terrible circumstances? Why believe in a silent being as the cause of good things in your life, and the savior from the terrible things in your life?
In the end, the best explanation I have supports what I’ve concluded so far:
God exists to comfort us. God exists so that we may feel better when terrible things happen. God does not give us strength, our belief in God does.