I’m not the first to say that it seems the older I get the less I know. Or perhaps more accurately the more I learn I realise there is so much more that I don’t know. When I was much younger I thought I knew it all. When it comes to spiritual matters and religious belief, this seems magnified.
Several years ago two close work colleagues died. They first became ill and as we found out about their illness we prayed. We prayed many prayers, asking for a cure, asking for the pain to be taken away. I believed my prayers would be heard… but it was the answer, or response, I was unsure about. And as time moved on, prayers for healing appeared to become more and more futile.
When prayer, especially for healing, isn’t answered in the way we would like, it can be devastating. Over the years, and not just in the examples given above I have prayed for people to be healed, yet they haven’t been. I have also prayed for people and they have been healed. And I think this is the issue that often shakes me. I don’t understand why some and not others. Yes, there is the medical profession involved and I personally believe that prayer works alongside these gifted professionals.
The bottom line, and for me, so often the faith shaker, is that I don’t understand why. In other words I don’t know, I don’t understand. And the more people who I see suffer and die multiplies this confusion.
I don’t mind saying I don’t know all the answers. In fact I am more than happy to say it. The more I learn and experience life, adds to this; cause, effect and chaos happily coexist. But the question I always end up asking, whatever the outcome, is why.
Asking why means that at some level I expect an answer. Even in the deepest, darkest depths of despair, to ask that question shows a flicker of faith, perhaps mustard seed in size. A question that believes there is, at least somewhere, an answer.
Not asking why would be the greatest sadness and the domain of a completely closed mind. When the conversation stops, there can be no dialogue. And if you don’t ask the question, there can never be an answer.