I have a FaceBook friend who has a large diverse following which he constantly challenges with political, social and religious issues. The other day he shared a “testimony” in which someone claimed their child was healed from autism. He simply added “I think that was nice of God.” The faith crowd of course replied with “Amens” and confirmations of the goodness of God, while the unbelievers and even some Christian brethren responded with various degrees of cynicism and sarcasm, often asking hard questions like, “If this is true, then why doesn’t God heal all autistic people?”
Such questions are hard but still valid. The hard-to-understand issues never bothered Jesus. In fact, He raised many of these issues Himself to test the religious leaders of His time. Take for example His words early in His ministry: “many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
The implication of His words so enraged these men that they tried to throw Him off a cliff. Was their reaction based on a misunderstanding of why God hadn’t intervened on the part of their predecessors? No! They knew exactly what Jesus meant. He was drawing a comparison between that former rebellious time in their history and their current rejection of Jesus’ message. The inference was that “outsiders” would once again be the recipients of God’s blessings in lieu of His “chosen people” if they didn’t set down their pride and humbly turn back to Him.
But not every valid “God question” has such an obvious answer. We cannot even say that a rebellious person will never experience God’s blessings; for elsewhere the Bible says that God allows His rain to fall on the land of both the righteous and the unrighteous. If we fully understood the inner-workings of the mind of God we’d be gods ourselves, which we definitely are not. We are only called to seek out an understanding of the nature of God to the extent he has shared it with us in the Bible and in the world around us, for the purpose of relating that understanding to the ones He puts in our individual paths.
God has revealed to us His written promises, but He also has allowed us to experience His grace and mercy. That’s why He often puts those who have been set free from drugs and alcohol into the lives of those still struggling with addiction. That’s why He puts the former porn addict or prostitute in front of a person still dealing with sexual misbehaviors. That’s why God frequently puts me, who once had a strong religious spirit, into the path of another of like background; or praying for the healing of the person with spine or heart and blood issues, ailments I was once miraculously healed of.
So why doesn’t God reverse the effects of autism throughout the world? Why doesn’t He do the same for every case of childhood cancer? I could hypothesize an answer based on scripture and verse – but I’d be wrong more times than not. And those few times I reasoned correctly, I’d still be stoned (metaphorically) by a large segment of the religious and non-religious world around me.
There are some things I don’t think we’re meant to know – because God alone is sovereign. We’re just to believe His promises, execute the action plan He’s set before us and trust that all things will ultimately work together for the good of those who love Him and who are called by Him.