Eventually I did fall asleep. I did sleep well—a solid four hours, dreamless, the first good sleep in two days. But I thought about my prayer and God’s response. I asked the old question every child asks (and the best of us, I think, keep on asking): How is it that Jesus, and later his disciples, went around healing people like crazy, while here in our modern age the only Christians who seem to be able to heal anything always seem to be hoaxers?
What was stopping God from simply taking away my headache, or my whole illness and my son’s with it for that matter? Was I lacking in faith? Relative to some of the people Jesus healed in the Gospels—some of whom were really clutching at straws—I don’t think so. Would it have cheapened my faith, diverting it to the wrong focus? No: I’ve seen bigger miracles than that, and not so different from it. Was there something I had done to repulse God’s kindness? I certainly sin, but I don’t recall any looming sin that would warrant the cold shoulder treatment, nor do I think God’s compassion works that way.
Although I didn’t become an atheist during my suffering or contemplations, it occurred to me that there can be no more atheizing experience than unmitigated suffering. If you have no solid experience in your life pointing to the existence of God and you are suffering, nothing could seem more reasonable than to say that God is not answering your prayers because God isn’t there to answer them. You would say, How could this God who showed so much compassion through Jesus so fail to show it to me? Either he never did what they say he did through Jesus, or whatever God did those things through Jesus buggered off sometime between then and now. About the time of the Inquisition would be my guess.
This is a very interesting blog I will have to make time to read through.