Is faith the culprit that has shown to be imperfect in healing the innocent, removing the wicked, and bolstered an uncharacteristically high expectation of God (or scientific principles?)
“A reasonable person’s confidence that a potential belief is true is in proportion to the strength of the evidence and arguments that support the belief compared to the strength of the evidence and arguments that count against the belief. What a reasonable person does not do is try to increase their level of certainty by talking themselves into believing something is true!”
– Greg Boyd, Benefit of the doubt
It is true that if we (as the race of men) knew all things (we don’t), then we could make predictions of future events and decisions with certainty. Instead, we know many things, which has led us to making predictions of things that are probable to happen. But how much weight is placed on the synthetic, theoretical realities? Should faith be divorced from reason and critical reason in the prospect of optimism, or supposed Biblical truths? Is God going to contradict well-established laws of reality in order to remove the temporary pain of an individual or group? Does God play favorites
If faith falls through then, is God to be rejected, as though faith is the only way to interact with and perceive God? Or is God capable of presenting evidence that faith can be based on, reinforcing predictions that align with reason, our minds, and the laws of reality that God put in place? Now God’s feelings are not going to be hurt is an individual rejects Him through temporary circumstances that don’t really reflect God’s character or actions. On the other hand, God will continue to do what He has always done, and be the solid rock who listens to us when we need to vent.
What if a self-augmented faith is actually in contrast with a relational covenant with God? While it “…impossible to please God without faith” (Hebrews 11:6), “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God…” Romans 10:17 So then, faith is not something that is entirely on us to manifest, but rather, on evidences that we see, experience, and observe. And this correctly cooperates with faith showing up in any other situation (faith that mathematics is dependable, that the nation is protected, and there words are constructed with phonetic sounds combined together etc). So faith isn’t that mystical, given this model of thinking. It is indeed built on evidence! And this is confirmed with Scripture (2nd Peter 1:16)
It is important that asking God for something is not a magical (or systematic) formula, but rather, it is relational. We know God’s character, first by our own personal experience with Him, and then by the evidence we have read in Scripture, history, and finally the multitude of accounts of those who have been touched by God. That is a lot of evidence, but each person has evidence that is puzzled together from different journey check points walking in relationship with God. If prayer, and intercession is reduced to an expected problem-solving solution, God is only the magic of a supposedly-tested formula. But prayer has never had 100% certainty. Relationship never does. God has free will just as we do. He may choose to say no, perhaps seeing something that doesn’t line up, or because He sees a lesson that trumps a healing that restores a situation to it’s previously unprogressing state.
I like knowing God can pull the rug out from under our believes about Him and His actions. I like knowing that it’s not a formula, and that one tiny incorrect step stressfully produces a wrong answer. God is merciful and patient, but He is also good enough to us to let us grow through problems so we take ownership over our lives as we progress in maturity.