prayer disconnect

March 17, 2009 at 6:15 pm 4 comments

images2Quick 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?

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Entry filed under: doubt, faith.

faith and the secret admirer unexamined faith

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The Rambling Taoist  |  March 18, 2009 at 3:26 am

    I’m so glad your young son recovered!! Having to bury one’s progeny is one of the saddest things ANY parent — religious or not — would have to bear. I know how upset my wife & I get when we have to bury one of our pets (we’re childless by choice). I can’t even begin to imagine the agony that would entail with burying a young child.

  • 2. Lorena  |  March 18, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Me, too. Happy for you that your sunshine is running around joyful and well.

    Frankly, when I look at the evidence for answered prayer, I find it easier to believe that there is none. Those who pray most are the destitutes of the third world, and they get nothing. Those who pray least are in developed countries and get all the blessings.

    Either God is a racist or He just doesn’t answer prayer and things follow a natural order.

  • 3. atimetorend  |  March 19, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Yes Lorena, that is how I see it too.

  • 4. TitforTat  |  April 1, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    I think most religious people miss a good point and purpose of prayer. Its not for any so called G-d. Its for us. I have found it interesting how many people in “Third world” nations pray for us. :)

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