My wife often says I'm "the believer" among the two of us. In her mind faith comes easily to me, but when she sees the inequities of the world, the difficulties so many deal with on a daily basis, it's difficult for her to summon much belief in a divine entity.
The truth is I've struggled with faith for years, trying to reconcile various philisophical positions. Why would God let a child be born if they were going to come down with autism? My daughter with autism/seizures is thirteen years old. My son who is neuro-typical is eleven. My daughter's condition is so severe that the four of us have never gone out to a restaurant. We have never been on a family vacation. When I walk in the door after work I know my daughter will probably have been tantrumming for at least a half hour, a condition which is only remedied by putting her in my car, and taking her for a long drive. My wife would ask, where is God in that domestic scene?
Of course the believer in me would start to come up with the counter-arguments. Do we thank God for all of the wonderful things in our life? The fact each of us were born to parents who loved us, we had the means to go to college, the friends we've had in our life, and our level of material wealth which many in the world can only dream of?
And yet this balacing of good and bad in our lives seems somehow the wrong approach. Sometimes everything can go wrong. Do we say God has abandoned us?
Sometimes people will say that in the midst of difficulties we cannot see God's plan in full. That God has planned wonderful things for us, but we often must go through a period of suffering and hardships so the full beauty of that plan can be unveiled. I will confess that sometimes I've seen glimmers of this possibility, and at others it has been difficult to imagine.
Lately I've come to a new approach, one that satisfies my need to believe in a higher power, but also acknowledges the wickedness I often see in the world. For I can call it nothing less than wickedness when the medical community refuses to perform a study of the neurological health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children. It is nothing less than wickedness when those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome/ME are told they are not physically ill, but suffer only from a mental illness.
My new approach is simply "free will." God gave us all free will. It has consequences. People can choose to do bad things through the exercise of their free will, and others will suffer as a result. It's true that God made the world, but we're the ones who live in it. This world and what we do in it is the responsibility of the human race.
I mention this because I fear more wickedness is to come. There are some individuals who are doing all in their power to help those with neuro-immune disorders like autism, chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, and other conditions. And there are those who are working to prevent that from happening, because some very uncomfortable questions will be raised.
Science is supposed to be about the search for truth and the alleviation of human suffering, but far too often it reveals the less savory aspects of the human condition. The causes are many, but the result is the same, a longer wait for those who suffer from neuro-immune diseases.
But as much as this is a world of free will, God still watches over us, and I believe He responds to prayer. Prayer is also an act of free will. And so on this Sunday I encourage you to pray for good things in the weeks ahead. I ask you to pray that those who are trying to help us will gain an advantage over those who would leave us in darkness.
In a world of free will I still believe prayer can bring about great things.
Kent Heckenlively is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism