In earlier conversations we’ve touched on prayer and the central issue of whether God is listening and prayers are answered. Some of our regular participants have offered powerful testimonials of prayers answered and miracles witnessed.
And yet the question remains. Certainly skeptics, and those more militant in their rejection of religion, can point to God’s failure to act in the face of real human tragedy and suffering as reason to doubt or even reject the very idea of a loving God.
Ryan Blanck, at his blog Recovering Evangelical (click this link to read), reconciles his belief in God and the power of prayer with God’s seeming unresponsiveness this way:
Now, I do believe in God, and I do believe in the power of prayer. But I also believe that God typically doesn’t do what God wants us to do. God doesn’t miraculously intervene when we are capable acting in God’s stead. God steps in when there is no other way.
Over the last few weeks we’ve seen widespread devastation and suffering caused by extreme weather across the Midwest; tornados in Ohio and Oklahoma, rivers flooding and levees failing in Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas. And then there are the more obviously manmade disasters. In the wake of yet another mass shooting, this one in Virginia Beach, VA, just a few days ago, Blanck connects his perspective to the tragedy of gun violence:
Well, if so many people are offering their “thoughts and prayers” in the wake of these mass shootings, why isn’t God doing anything? Why doesn’t God act? Why doesn’t God intervene? I mean God is more than capable of causing a gun to jam or causing the shooter to drop dead with a heart attack. And yet, God does nothing.
We’re going to think about, and talk about this question in our conversation tomorrow evening. Why doesn’t God do something? Why do our prayers seemingly go unanswered? Are we doing something wrong? Are we insufficiently righteous? Is God just cruel and capricious?
There are all kinds of ways these questions can be answered, some of which are more satisfying or problematic than others. Click on some of these links to read a few.
Join us for the discussion tomorrow evening, June 4, beginning at 7 p.m. at Lockhart’s BBQ in downtown Lake Orion.