Yesterday I watched a gut-wrenching interview with Dr. William Petit on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Rai & I cried, could hardly watch, and fluctuated between raw anger, sadness, and confusion for the entire hour.
In July of 2007, Dr. Petit was nearly beaten to death with a baseball bat in his home by 2 awful men out of jail on parole. Tied up in his basement, his wife of 22 years, Janet, a nurse, was raped and killed. Then his 17 year old daughter, Haley, was raped and killed. Then his 11 year old daughter, Michaela, was raped and killed.
The evil men then burned down the house and Dr. Petit, inches away from death, barely escaped.
The Petit family were Christians. (Dr. Petit, amazingly, reluctantly even, is still holding on that God exists, but said that he and God, at best are in a standoff right now.)
They prayed for divine intervention. It doesn’t appear to have happened in any way that I understand.
After watching it, my wife and I had a raw conversation like many of the raw conversations about God that we often have privately. They are often too raw for a microphone and I think that is unfortunate.
We both wondered aloud this…
How in the world could God hear the prayers of a mother… begging Him for divine intervention or some type of miracle so that 2 monsters don’t rape and murder her 11 & 17 year old daughters…how & why could God hear that and choose not to respond?
Why should I ever assume that God hears my little stupid prayers and cares enough to answer them if he didn’t respond to the hopes of a mother about to have the most heinous things imaginable happen to her two daughters??
Evil won. Good lost. Right?
I then tweeted this….
“Just watched today’s Oprah. Brutally painful. Honestly makes me wonder so many core ideas about God, prayer, and more. Any of you see it?”
Many people wondered what I saw on Oprah and then I tweeted this…
“A man on Oprah today watched his wife & 11 & 17 y/o daughters get raped & killed by criminals while they prayed for God to help. God didn’t.”
My wife thought it was too raw to post. Not hopeful enough. Maybe she’s right. If you know me you know I am as hopeful and optimistic as it gets.
Someone else took it a step further and questioned if I was actually a man of God for writing such a tweet.
“and you claim to be a man of God??? whew, hard to believe that after that tweet.”
Here’s the thing…
I don’t serve God because I have all of the answers. I have real questions that have no answers.
I don’t love God because it all makes sense to me. I am often utterly confused with my faith.
Frankly, I would abandon a faith that wasn’t strong enough for tough questions. In fact, I am more confident in my faith because I test its limits in every way I know how.
In the end though, I find just a bit of comfort in Isaiah 55:8 which reminds us that our thoughts and God’s thoughts are not the same. Furthermore, I am hopeful that what questions I have in this life, I will get answered in the next one.
Would love for you to join this “negative” conversation.
What are your gut thoughts on why God appears to intervene sometimes and not others? Why do you believe in prayer in spite of the above story?