Today’s Guest Post is from Bishop Bill.
Hawkgrrrl recently made a comment on another thread (which I can’t find!) about the conflict of a God that intervenes in everything vs a God that is non-intervening. I though it deserves a thread of its own as it raises some good questions.
Option #1. We believe in a God that answers our prayers, that is personally involved with the little things in our lives.
Pro: He is a loving Father that helps us find keys, select a mate, hunts down that perfect modest dress for the prom, etc. He is a God that helps someone find a quarter to buy chicken on the way home from work, or helps a future prophet find a $5 bill.
Cons: Why didn’t he cure my son-in-law of cancer? Why does he let little children suffer in Syria, and others starve in Africa?
Option #2 We believe in a non-intervening God, which sets the world in motion, and lets nature take its course.
Pro: Explains suffering, why bad things happen to good people.
Con: Why pray for anything? What is the use of a Priesthood Blessing? Who helped Pres Monson find his $5 bill, was it just luck?
It is easy to explain away prayers that are answered by studying confirmation bias. We only remember the events that confirm our preconceived notions of the world. I don’t remember all the times I had an impression that something was going to happen, and then it didn’t. But I do remember that time I was sitting in Sacrament meeting as a counselor in a YSA bishopric, and when the SP asked for a sustaining vote for a young man to get the priesthood, I had the distinct impression that he was going to ask me to ordain him as an Elder. And 30 min later he did exactly that. So I remember it. But then a year later, when I learned the YSA Bishop was moving, I had the impression that I was going to be the next bishop. I wasn’t. I was called as the Bishop of my home ward within a few weeks. I just chalked that up as misinterpreting the impression that I would be bishop. I got the bishop right, just didn’t get the ward right.
So is there a happy medium between #1 and #2 above? Is there a place in our theology that lets God help you find a quarter for chicken, but not save your son-in-law from cancer?