Why doesn’t God intercede to accelerate medical progress?

Monday Musings for January 03, 2022

Good morning, Musers,

Any question towards God that has the tone, “Why don’t you do such and such instead of what you are doing now…” is impudent. That’s today’s lesson. So if you are looking for a soundbite, you can stop reading and get on with your day.

But life is not that easy. I would love it if there were a single overarching truth that took care of all the other business of life automatically. That is not how life goes... as you know. Life is messy and complicated. Nevertheless, God is not shy about communicating “big truths” … leaving us to hammer out the details. That was his deal with ancient Israel. They went into captivity having failed at the “details” part. I pray the Church does better.

People who imply that God could do better are postulating too small of a God. Our God is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise, all good, etc. He has absolutely no personality deficits, and he is infinitely perfect in all that he is and does. Now, he responds to humanity through contingencies... the “if/thens” that help us navigate our spiritual lives. So the processes look convoluted… and are seen by some as inefficient. But God knows best.

For instance, since God transcends time (and/or is omnitemporal within it... the Bible is under-determinative here), concepts like “efficiency” are moot. This is true via his omnipotence too. When one has infinite power, nothing takes effort... so notions of efficiency melt away. But even a man like me who knows these issues can get frustrated with God’s timing. When this happens, it is immaturity on my part... not poor performance on God’s part. I too need to grow up.

If you have been alive a while, you know somebody with a horrible disease... something like cancer or a debilitating neurological disease. Now, I spend a lot of time studying — thinking rarefied theological thoughts. When I’m in that zone, I see God as justified in the way he is handling the world. I understand that sin has broken the world and people get sick. But when sickness visits my house, I no longer “get it”... not emotionally, anyway. I turn into a child.

You see, theory and life are related. If that were not true, I would shut down this ministry today. But theory never prepares you totally for reality. We can empathize with sufferers... but we cannot suffer theoretically. We need to spend time in our own crucibles before we can help others.

So, although it’s okay to ask, why me? … as part of the process of suffering, we should not live there. In fact, knowledgeable Christians ask, why not me? The why-nots are tied up in God’s beneficence... in his general provisions in the physical, metaphysical and spiritual worlds. He fine-tuned our experiences so that we will have joy while experiencing the effects of sin. But one day he will finish redeeming the universe... and it will be all joy and no evil. What a day that will be!

Until then, we should “count it all joy” … as the Lord’s brother James taught us... when we encounter suffering. We should not go looking for suffering. That would be silly! But we should not close our eyes to its probability or imminence. That would be foolish.

 

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