Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Job who was never rich

I write this from Alabama. Alabama is a strange, strange place. Stores have names like Winn Dixie or Piggly Wiggly, people eat at Twix 'N Tween, there are towns with names like Six Mile, Tuscaloosa, and Remlap (so named to spite the Palmer family). The people talk funny, over-stressing their vowels (Winn of Winn Dixie can be stretched into three syllables: we-ya-inn). Everyone has a truck. The nearest tofu is half an hour away.

On Friday, we visited with some old family friends. I don't pay much attention to what other people say when we pray, I don't know why, I just have trouble focusing. Don's blessing over lunch on Friday is still messing with me, though.

When Don prayed, he thanked God for good friends and good food, as clear signs of God's Goodness. Don has a deep and sound acceptance that God is in control, so we can sleep soundly at night.

Don is dying of cancer. He has 10 kids. He's never really had a well-paying job. His hair is falling out.

I'm 22. I'm a graduate student. I am happy and healthy. I have amazing hair.

From where I'm standing, it seems that God is doing his best to look like a happy delusion, if he's there, at all. If God's so good, what's he doing about poverty, hunger, or disease? And if people believing in God is so important to God, then why hasn't he made it a little easier for the other 4 billion of us that aren't convinced?

Don's idea of who God is messes with me. Some people have very good lives, and credit God with providing them with their blessings, so their thinking that God is good and sovereign seems reasonable, but their proof of God can be written off as confirmation bias. On the other hand, while everything is falling apart for Don, he still loves God and thinks God is good. Don doesn't seem to be believing out of desperation, he's not stupid, he's not naive. What has Don seen that I haven't, that he considers God being a good god a tangible reality?


  1. My faith in God could definitely be explained as "confirmation bias". But, I've heard enough stories like this one (and seen a few) to convince me that it's real.

  2. I feel kind of dumb, now, Tim, because I didn't.

    Or maybe it's best I didn't. I openly admit I'm cynical enough that any proof that anyone offers of God, from experience, I am so skeptical of it that it actually does more harm than good, unless it's very rock-solid evidence.