Quick follow up to the last post, concerning the evidences Christians see in answered prayer. I know this theme has been written about in any number of places before, but this is my fresh experience.
This week my 3 year old was hospitalized overnight for an illness. He’s completely fine now, having rebounded quickly following the treatment he received. But before the hospital stay he was very badly off, and going downhill. A Christian friend remarked to me afterward, “Just think of what might have happened if we didn’t live in this day and age.” Which were my thoughts exactly, not only in this day and age, but in this modern country. He very likely would have died without the care he received.
Now I am infinitely thankful to have a happy and healthy little guy this week, and cherish each moment with him more than ever. And to the Christian it is an answer to prayer. I’m fine with that, a Christian being thankful to God for his renewed health makes perfect sense to me, and we can rejoice in that together. But to see it as answered prayer, what does that say for children (and their parents) in other ages, in other countries, has God shown no care for them, has God rejected their prayers? How many of those parents prayed in faith for healing for their children that never came?
I guess Christians desire to see it in a simpler sense, just be thankful for what God does and leave the big picture to him, whatever happens is done in his infinite wisdom. Of course people in the modern west need to bear sorrows as well, Christian and un-believer. And maybe that is a poverty of the Church in the west, where life is comfortable and death can seem so distant; God can seem more the God of prosperity than the God of comfort for the poor in heart.
But it still seems to me like a slap in the face to those who do not see the same “results,” God healed my child but not yours. And the reason is not that I live in the most modern age in one of the most modern countries, it is because God answered my prayer and not yours. God provided me with a healthy child, and God will provide you with the grace to endure your sorrows.
I am not ungrateful to God, it is a matter of belief in his existence, not a matter of ungratefulness. If God were to show himself to me to be real, I would have no reluctance to give him thanks. Be thankful for the health of your child, be thankful to God if you choose, or find solace in him in times of sorrow. But do we have to believe it demonstrates the reality of God’s existence?