When I left off, I had just come face-to-face with the truth about me: that diabetes is a disease and a problem. This process is, in fact, ongoing, because it is a very uncomfortable truth to live with. The perfection of my body is one way that I measure my worth as a human being, so to say that I have a disease that I can't fix presents a psychological challenge. It involves holding in tension my dignity as a human person, body and soul, with my ongoing corruption, body and soul, as I strive for greater perfection, body and soul.
Once I had tackled my self-deception about whether or not I even needed greater bodily perfection, the second obstacle I encountered to asking for healing was my understanding of the truth about God. So here's what I know about God.
- He is powerful. That is to say, he CAN heal. See: the miracles of Jesus.
- He is loving. That is to say, he DESIRES the wholeness and healing of our bodies. See: the death and resurrection of Lazarus, when Christ wept over his friend's demise.
- He is faithful. That is to say, he RESPONDS to our groanings, because he has freely bound himself to us. See: the Gospels. Faith small as a mustard seed, "ask and it shall be given unto you," and so forth.
Hey, wait a minute. How come I still have diabetes?
It probably sounds dumb to people who have a better grasp on eternal truths than I do, and I'm sure it sounds dumb to people who have more faith than I do, but this is a leap that my mind makes with relative ease. The fact that I still have diabetes, in spite of having, you know, kind of casually asking that it not be so, is a serious obstacle in my prayers for healing. The first time I ventured to ask God to heal me, I threw in an extra sentence or two at the end of my meditation ("Oh, and if you could heal my diabetes, that would be great"), and I was totally disappointed when I went to check my blood sugar an hour later and it was low.
So if God can heal me, he wants to heal me, and he answers my faithful requests, then what gives?
Most often, I just think I'm so bad and so worthless that it's not worth his time or energy. His love doesn't go quite so far as to reach me and my diabetes, even if he was willing to save me from eternal hellfire. He's holding out on me. He doesn't really want what's best for me. In fact, he might not even be paying attention. Or worse, he actually wants something bad for me! How come he can't see how much I need this taken away? Maybe I will have diabetes in heaven, after all.
Bonus points if you can pinpoint the biblical character whose sin I'm imitating (you're not allowed to guess, "all of them," even though you'd be totally right).
That's right, Eve. She knew God, and his goodness, faithfulness, and power. But the snake somehow convinced her that God was holding out on her! Seems like I'm following in her footsteps a lot these days - what with the pain and difficulty in childbearing and all. I think the Church says she did go to heaven eventually, right...? I sure hope I follow her there, too.
So if I know that God is unchanging and just, I just said,"I don't believe it. He's a petulant child whose whims rule the day." If I state with my lips that God is good, I just said in my heart, "Maybe to some people, but not to me." If I see God to be love on the cross of Christ, I just said, bitterly, in my soul, "If you really loved me, you would give me what I asked for when I asked for it." (Now who sounds like a petulant child?) If God is powerful, I just doubted him, saying, "Yeah, but he doesn't use his power to actually help people."
It's amazing how I use the circumstances of my life as a proof against God. If it just doesn't make sense to me, or it seems more right to do it in a different way, I accuse God of some wrongdoing. If anything, the circumstances of my life should serve as a proof against me, because heaven knows the list of my sins and faults is long, long, long. But what fault had Christ, the man who is God? None. None at all.
My question is a bad one. "If God can heal me, he wants to heal me, and he answers my faithful requests, then what gives?" packs a metaphysical punch."God is not good" does not logically follow from "I have diabetes." Just like "God is not good" does not logically follow from "Don't eat the fruit." Not all fruit is good for you, after all, as the moldy oranges languishing in the drawer of my refrigerator will attest. The question also assumes that God owes me something, and that my relationship to God is a mechanical one. Like a vending machine. But God bears no resemblance to any kind of machine. And for that matter, neither do I, which is part of the reason I hate being treated like a statistic that can be "managed."
So "what gives" is, in fact, the infinite judgment and wisdom of God. "What gives" is the interpersonal dynamic between two people, where nothing is automatic. "What gives" is God's justice, which actually delivers bodily corruption as a punishment for sin. "What gives" is the stuff of faith. "What gives" is the trials and temptations of life that purify our souls.
In my first post, I talked about how I realized I had a problem. Then, when I brought it to God, I found a convenient new way to jettison my problem (diabetes), and it somehow became a problem with God. But it is still my problem, not a problem with God, and I'd do well to stop taking counsel from that stinkin' snake!