Bridging the Divided

Through A Glass Darkly

Does God always answer prayers? If so, why do some people get healed and others don’t? People have asked these questions of me.

Does God always answer prayers? It’s easy to believe God answers prayers when answers to prayers manifest. What if nothing manifests? Some say the absence of an answer is an answer. So, if I ask God to heal someone or to stop a war or a pandemic or help a family escape an abusive situation and an answer doesn’t manifest, does the absence of an answer mean that God doesn’t care? I know people who believe this. 

When I was an active member of the church and prayers weren’t answered, people said the prayers were prayed outside the will of God. If I ask God to heal a child and the child dies, am I to conclude a prayer for healing was outside the will of God? How can healing a child be outside the will of God? People I knew in the church said God saw the whole picture, and by taking the child God prevented the child from committing a sin or vile act later in life. That doesn’t make sense, does it? Not to me. Sin and vile acts are committed every day and the people who commit them aren’t taken early to prevent their actions. I’ve also heard well-meaning people say God needed the child worse than we did. What? Why would God need a child worse than the parents? Some who lose a child never recover from the loss. What about the convoluted thought that heaven needed another angel? Anyone who reads the Bible knows that people are not angels, nor do people become angels after they die. 

When all else fails, the answer to prayers not being answered is that the prayers weren’t brought before God with enough faith. Wow, so it’s my fault God chose to let someone I prayed for die? When I was a young Christian, I asked an elder why my prayers weren’t answered. The answer? “You don’t pray with enough faith.” Apparently, I couldn’t even scrounge up a mustard seed’s worth of faith. In other words, whether or not God chooses to answer prayers is dependent upon me and my faith or lack thereof. 

Answers like these from the religious damage people. It isn’t logical to think that if 10 people pray for the same person or the same thing they will all receive answers to their prayers. Five people may pray for the healing of a person and five may pray for God’s will to be done. If the person dies, five people will think God didn’t answer. So, do we pray for God’s will in every situation? That would make sense but the Bible teaches that whatever we ask for in Jesus’s name will happen. In other words, our prayers need to be specific. There are contradictions in the Bible, and this is one of them.

We walk by faith and not by sight. We must believe before we see – not the other way around. This is a scriptural and spiritual statement, and one of the few areas where religion and spirituality intersect. Spirituality teaches that what we put into the universe comes back to us. The universe gives us what it thinks we want – I have heard this, as well. Putting an abundance of negativity into the universe begets more negativity and vice versa. If the majority of my thoughts are negative, I will view life from a negative standpoint, but if the majority of my thoughts are positive, my view of life will be largely positive. I control my thoughts, nothing more, nothing less. I cannot control outcomes even if I pray specifically, pray God’s will, or have an abundance of faith.

I have sat with people as they cried following the suicide of a loved one asking if that person was going to hell. I don’t believe Divine Love banishes people living in their own emotional hell to a place called hell. People need answers and explanations for the inexplicable in life, but I don’t think religion always has the right answers. Sometimes religion’s answers cause more harm than peace. 

I have no answers for why some are healed and some are not. I trust that I only see in part. I see through a glass darkly…..

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