I Can’t Hear You (Reader’s Question)

 

©iStock.com/VCT Style

©iStock.com/VCT Style

When Chris takes a detour and gets trapped inside a gym that happens to be run by his enemy (Chapter 12), he calls Doug for help. However, the only answer he receives is static. Candy asks: What causes static on the transmitter?

In an earlier version of The Race, Chris asked this same question, and Josh answered it in Chapter 36. I cut the section because the chapter was dragging a bit, and Josh had already answered a similar question about the physical properties of doubt in Chapter 5.

But here is Josh’s explanation, which occurs when he relates the story of Juan Misi’s fight with Stan at the same gym. (By the way, I also post the answers to reader’s questions in the Behind the Scenes section of the website so they can be found more easily.)

“Juan finally called Dad,” Josh said. “But he had trouble with reception over the transmitter, as everyone does there—”

“Yeah, why is the reception so bad in that building?” Chris asked.

“It’s not the building, but the reason people are in the building. As the Manual says, ‘anyone who comes to Doug must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.’ Unbelief interferes with your ability to hear Dad’s messages over the transmitter.”

“Like the way doubt interfered with my ability to hear your voice in Death Valley?”

“Exactly. People take that detour to Stan’s gym because they’re looking for another way to win the prize. They either don’t believe Dad’s assurance that following the racecourse is the best way, or they’re looking for an easier way than ‘earnestly’ seeking it.”

“I was just hoping to help Kenny.”

“Is that all?” Josh’s penetrating gaze seemed to expose all of Chris’s deepest thoughts and motivations. “You signed up for Stan’s so-called ‘Quick Boost’ program to help Kenny? You stayed overnight to help Kenny?”

Chris’s gaze fell to his hands. He couldn’t hardly claim that, could he? After all, Kenny hadn’t even stayed overnight!

“No,” he admitted. “I see what you mean. I was looking for an easier way—I wanted to increase my endurance so I could complete the course faster.” Remembering the discussion, he added thoughtfully, “And Stan made it sound like that was wise—enlightened even.”

Josh nodded. “He gets a big kick out of making wisdom appear foolish, and making foolishness appear wise.”

The subject of “unanswered prayer” seems to interest a lot of people, believers and non-believers alike.

©iStock.com/ djedzura

©iStock.com/ djedzura

For my part, I have a problem with the term itself. I think it’s dishonest — a sneaky way of shifting the blame from ourselves to God. But does God—the same God who numbers the hairs on our heads, who weeps over our unfaithfulness, and who repeatedly asks us to pray—really fail to answer our prayers?

Or do we fail to receive the answers?

What do you think?

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