When Bad Things Happen to Good People

7. God can't do everything, but he can do some important things [pages 113-131]

"Praying for a person's health, for a favorable outcome of an operation, has implications that ought to disturb a thoughtful person. If prayer worked the way many people think it does, no one would ever die. If we believe in God, but we do not hold God responsible for life's tragedies, if we believe that God wants justice and fairness but cannot always arrange for them, what are we doing when we pray to God for a favorable outcome to a crisis in our life?" [pages 113-114]

Reasons people give (but Kushner rejects) for why you might not get what you pray for:

Improper prayers, according to the Talmud: What's left to pray for? "The conventional explanation, that God sends us the burden because He knows that we are strong enough to handle it, has it all wrong. Fate, not God, sends us the problem. When we try to deal with it, we find out that we are not strong. We are weak; we get tired, we get angry, overwhelmed. We begin to wonder how we will ever make it through all the years. But when we reach the limits of our own strength and courage, something unexpected happens. We find reinforcement coming from a source outside ourselves. And in the knowledge that we are not alone, that God is on our side, we manage to go on." [page 129]

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