September 10, 2013
It is said, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” I have often wondered why the author of the quote did not say that the proof of the pudding is in seeing it. Is it because something may look like a pudding, but may be something else altogether?
As knowledge seekers, I cannot imagine a person who has not been confronted with the question, “If there is a God, then why can’t we see Him.” The more poignant question, especially for those who have experienced it is, “If there is a God, then why is there suffering?”
Loving as He is, I don’t think God detests that question. In fact, I believe He perfectly understands why we even ask it. While the question has dodged mankind from the beginning, I can think it is safe to say that it will always remain elusive. Great scientists of the past like Albert Einstein, Edward Hubble and several others paid respect to a ‘great mind’, or a ‘superior being’, behind the creation of the universe. Many contemporary scientists who started their search to disprove the work of a superior intelligence behind the universe, have gone on to say that science is far too limited to reach the depths of the universe to find an answer. So many have ended up acknowledging that only God could have created something so magnificent, so scientifically and mathematically perfect. That reminds me of this beautiful verse from the Holy Bible: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Book of Psalms, Chapter 19, verse 1.
Stephen Hawking said that it is not God, but the laws of gravity that brought the universe into existence. John Lennox, a scientist with three PhD’s and defender of the Christian faith, says that attributing gravity to bring something into existence is like saying that an engine – which also requires the laws of science – can be built without a scientist.
Hawking suffers from motor neuron disease, a highly debilitating condition that has left him completely paralyzed. Unable to even speak or write, he uses a highly complex computer system to ‘type’ what he wants to say with the help of a switch attached to his wheel chair, the only interface between him and the computer. He selects the word using eye movement. Once the sentence is constructed, a software converts it into a voice response, using a synthesizer. Hawking, although a genius, could not have been heard but for the machine that was designed and created by several scientists. Ironically, Hawking who constantly peers into the universe, is unable to see from his own computer system that a complex concept necessarily requires an equally complex genius to bring it into existence. Even someone of Hawking’s intellect should know that not even in a 100 billion years could a machine like that evolve on its own, let alone the human brain which is capable of building a machine like that, and which is far more complex than any machine imaginable.
Today, some scientists who do not believe in God, come up with theories that travel between two universes in a matter of minutes is a distinct possibility. If such a ‘scientific’ fantasy is possible, then why is it not possible for God (who could create a universe and earth in all its splendour) to take us upto heaven?
Coming back to the question of suffering, if we believe there is God, then – much like faith – giving meaning to our suffering is solely left to us. And how we respond to a difficult situation can make the difference between continuing sorrow, or our own upliftment. There is no question that a lot of good has come to a lot of people from suffering.
Ashlyn Blocker is a girl who suffers from an extremely rare genetic disorder that prevents her from feeling any pain - literally! And it does not make any difference whether her hurts, including burns, are minor or major. She needs to be constantly protected from injuries because even though she cannot feel pain, death still remains a reality – as with any human being. Far from considering it a blessing, her mother prays for her to feel pain like any other child. Her condition is so ironical in a world that constantly battles the question, “Why is there pain?”
Sure, we can always boast that we have a right to ask, just as we have the right to mess up our lives even when we have everything going well for us. But, without doubt, those who have surrendered to God have found peace even in very adverse of life’s situations, and have found their silver lining in the midst of sorrow. And, those who have asked, “What should I be now doing?”, have found answers. I believe God does not want us to dwell on “why” because it only straps us in the past, but on “what” because it helps us move on.
Studies are showing that a person who surrenders to God - even an illness like cancer - have not only found peace, but have experienced complete healing. The spontaneous remission of cancer cells in patients have baffled oncologists so many times that they are being compelled to look for answers in the metaphysical realm.
Forty years ago, a woman lost her husband and was left with nine children to raise, the oldest one being 15 years of age. How is it ever possible for an uneducated woman - living in a village, with a bulb no brighter than the burning wick of a tiny candle, no convenient means of transportation, having to work as a part-time servant in three households - to raise children and help them grow into healthy, independent individuals? Her children today are either doing reasonably well or very well.
I asked her if she ever felt that God had abandoned her. She said that there were many times, immediately after the demise of her husband, that she felt that way. Not finding any meaningful answer to her loss, she garnered whatever little faith she had in God and told Him, “I don’t know why you did it, but I believe you are there, and you will help me raise the nine children you have given me.”
Then she said something profoundly beautiful, which inspired me to write this article. She said, “I have not seen Him, but I have felt his sweetness, His helping hand, all through my life. When I lost my husband, I never thought I could raise even one child, and here I am now blessed to hear some good news almost every other month from a son or a daughter. God’s blessings continue to pour till this day.”
What I have found convincingly wonderful is how God connects the dots in our lives to uplift us when life appears to be in a trough. I have experienced it personally so many times that I refuse to hand it to coincidence or chance.
Indeed, as the book of Psalms, Chapter 34, verse 8 of the Holy Bible says, “TASTE and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.”
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