My experiences as a physician have caused me to question many aspects of traditional theology. One question that concerns me – and absolutely must be addressed is: “To what degree does God choose to be involved in the every day affairs of man?”. Over the years I have treated many thousands of patients and met with their families. I’ve watched the parents of young children dying of leukemia pour out their hearts to God – with little apparent effect. In times of extreme stress and grief, when we feel helpless and unable to endure, it seems natural to cry out to God.
As a physician devoted to healing, I believe that God has given us the resources to work together with the bodys’ natural healing processes to try and effect the cure – and that itself is a worthy object of our precious hope.
Some might say that God is there to comfort these families and draw them closer to Him through the experience. We feel obligated to say that God must have a purpose for the suffering of such children – because otherwise we are left with a God who has it completely within His power to help and does not. Strangely enough, we hold ourselves to a different standard. For who among us would excuse a police officer for ignoring an assault if he later went and comforted the victim’s parents?
My observation is that God has ordained laws of physics and nature which He rarely, if ever, suspends at our request. Indeed, the world would be thrown into total chaos if God felt obligated to live up to each of the verses cited above. For if we perceived that God could be routinely induced to answer our individual prayers, millions of human beings would be simultaneously praying for different outcomes – many of them in direct conflict with each other. Some of these requests would be in violation of the laws of physics. For what mother would not pray to turn back time itself to save the life of her child if he was hit by a delivery truck while running into the street after a lost ball…
I do not believe that God does not act because He is not able to or because He does not care. Rather, I believe that He generally chooses not to because he has placed us on this earth with freewill and ability to determine much of our own future. The scope of His divine experiment must be far larger in scope than we will every be able to fully appreciate in this life. That doesn’t make it any easier, but it seems to be our reality.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.