The Invisible Friend

“Christians might choose to believe that God is answering their prayers, despite the evidence that “answered prayers” are nothing more than coincidences, because they are afraid of being alone. They need an invisible friend to talk to in order to cope with loneliness, and God is the “community sanctioned” invisible friend that is accepted in our society. It may be that, for millions of people, an invisible friend is the only way they can cope with being alone. In order to make this invisible friend seem more real, it may help the illusion if you believe that he hears and answers prayers.”  from the Blog, “God is Imaginary”.

The writer of this blog primarily bases his skeptical sarcasm on one fact:  Science has no proof that God exists.  My immediate response was to say “I see.  Your god cannot find evidence for THE God ergo He does not exist.”  Perhaps it merely means that science is as limited as the men who practice it.  (I can do without the mocking “invisible friend” condescension.  That is not an argument.)

His point about prayer, however, is well taken.  I believe this is the fault of the Christian church.  We have portrayed prayer as a form of magic.  We trumpet “God answers prayers!” This is followed by a story such as telling of a child who suffered a terrible, life threatening accident and miraculously survived.  If prayer is so effective then what about the countless children who do not survive despite intense prayer?  I think we are correct to credit God for the survival of the first child but then are we to blame Him for the death of the second?  Certainly not!

The explanation lies in two complex mysteries:  the Nature of God and the Nature of Prayer.  God is timeless and the creator of everything.  He does not do “tricks” for doubters.  Jesus performed countless, undeniable miracles which convinced nobody.  God offers a relationship with Himself that will stand whether He does a miracle or not.  As for evidence of His existence, He points to creation which contains plenty.  Those who worship science refuse to believe it, postulating impossible theories to explain away the evidence.  (“The simple became complex all by itself.”  “Really?  That doesn’t happen.”  “Yes it does, if you give it billions of years, anything can happen.  It’s magic.”)

God is incredibly more complex than mere imagination can conceive.  When I try to explain that God transcends time (“I AM”) and interacts entirely in the present (no past or future), I struggle to find words.  It’s not that something has happened or will happen, for God it IS happening.  This changes everything.  All the prayers that have ever been prayed or ever will be are being heard right now.  All events, all matter, all of humanity is present before Him at once.  My point is that God is far beyond our puny capabilities (no wonder we can’t find Him in the lab) and vastly superior to the greatest intellect.  We would never find Him except He came to us.

Finally, keep in mind the purpose of prayer.  It is fundamentally a trusting communication between a tiny man and an immense but fatherly God.  His goal is to increase our freedom, our wisdom, our faith and our productivity.  We live to grow and serve.  Sometimes this means hardship.  Sometimes miracles happen.  Always it is an eternal relationship.  It is insulting to imagine that He is a magic genie at our beck and call.  Whatever He does or does not do, all we can do is trust Him.

Let others rage about His failures.  God’s failures?  Those are imaginary.

Romans 118 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Leave a Reply