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A couple of years ago, my mother fought and survived cancer. A few weeks ago, her doctor discovered a new mass. He verified it. He scheduled her for a biopsy. The day of the biopsy arrived, and a final scan was taken before surgery. Only now, there was no mass. Nothing, nada. “Um, maybe it was a cyst that dissolved due to hormones,” the doctor offered. My mother doesn’t take hormones. That can’t be the reason. So what is?

A friend of mine recently posted something on Facebook: pictures of hopeful people with captions that read, “God, please help me pass this test,” and “God, let my team win.” The last image was of a starving child in Africa with no caption underneath. Obviously, the post was supposed to illustrate the futility of prayer and/or the nonexistence of a loving God.

I get it. I can’t explain why a loving God would allow children to die of starvation. But I can reason that quite a number of the world’s problems rest with our own human free will. We could feed the hungry if we really wanted to; heaven knows, we have plenty enough. But we don’t, for a number of reasons ranging from practicalities in shipping and distribution to lack of funding to volatile politics in affected regions. However, as to the question of why God would “allow” human tragedies to occur: No, I have no explanation.

I hope to understand these things someday. Maybe in the afterlife I’ll figure it out. For now, I am willing to confess my lack of full comprehension yet still believe in God with all my heart. There are a million reasons for this. The latest one? What happened to my mother was a miracle. The doctor couldn’t explain it. And neither can anyone else.

Ruth once wrote, “Miracles accrue one prayer at a time.” I believe this. Even if the world doesn’t always back me up.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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