In his book The Problem of Pain C.S. Lewis raises an issue that I have wrestled with for years. If the guiding principle of life is survival of the fittest, as the Darwinists claim, then disabilities are natural. They happen, and in a purely natural setting they are weeded out as part of the gradual evolution of a species. As cruel as it sounds, this combination of randomness and natural selection is a completely consistent explanation for disability, given an atheistic worldview. If we believe in an all-powerful God who holds the world in his hands, however, disabilities pose a real problem. How can we square our theology with the suffering of our kids? How can there be both a God who loves and cares for us and innocent babies born with disabilities?
I’m no theologian. I haven’t had hours and hours to ponder and pray over this. I have not dwelt on it constantly, but the question has always been with me. Most of the time it has occupied the space in my mind clearly marked “don’t understand.”
Twenty-one years ago my son was born. Why he came early, the doctors couldn’t tell us. No great insight came to me, or has come to me since as to why it happened. With such a huge question in my life unanswered, and faced, of course, with other questions as well, sometimes I had to wonder. How is it I believe in God?
I was asked this by a parent, how is it after all these things have happened to me, I have faith? My answer is more along the lines of an explanation of what I believe faith is.
I think at times I have expected faith to be like a light-switch with only two positions, on or off. Early in my life I believed that because I had doubts and questions I could not possibly be a believer. But eventually I was faced with a fact. No matter how far I had wandered away from God, he was still there. I was not going to church or following Him, and yet, when faced with questions, again and again I chose to ask him why. The light switch was never off; it was a dimmer switch on very, very low. I was mad at God, yet I smiled at the beauty He created. I even prayed for clarity. It wasn’t that I had no faith; I simply refused to acknowledge that I relied on him all the time. The choice I had to make was a choice to stop running away, to talk directly to Him and admit that I didn’t get life.