~ BRITTANY PETRUZZI
In December 2020, I found out that I had a brain tumor; less than a week later I was in the hospital getting it removed. The doctors said: “Once the pressure is relieved, your vision should resolve itself within six months.” But it did not resolve itself. It’s been a year, and I am blind.
When I could see, I was big on trail-running, and often when I was running full speed down steep hills, Psalm 121 would pop into my head: “He will not allow your foot to stumble.”
After a mystical interlude on the South Ridge of the Chisos Mountains, I hiked back to my car, still exhilarated from the experience. Feeling ecstatic, I started running down the rocky trail. I remember thinking to myself something like, “Amazing how fast I can go, how balanced and sure-footed.”
No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than I stumbled, literally flying through the air with no part of my body touching the ground. I landed hard on the large trail rocks, skinning and bruising myself badly. I was lucky not to be seriously injured. Still, it was a bad fall and almost seemed like God’s punishment for my overweening pride.
How is it, anyway, that a loving God lets bad things happen to us, whether a fall on a mountain trail or a brain tumor causing blindness. After all, conventional religion conceives of God as all-powerful. A loving, all-powerful God would prevent falls and brain tumors.
I’m not willing to give up the idea of God’s perfect love. So, God must not be all-powerful. Think of God as Being Itself. Being Itself must struggle against Non-Being; and, in that struggle, bad things happen.
I can only hope that Being Itself ultimately triumphs over Non-Being. I can only hope that evil is one day defeated by the power of an Eternal Love. Or, as St. Paul says, “I run toward the goal, so I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize God offers…” (Philippians 3:14 CEV)
~ Richard Russell
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