In the Lectionary

May 22, Easter 6C (John 5:1-9)

Abundance is not always God’s modus operandi.

Everyone has something. We’re all afflicted by some illness, some hardship, some shame, some dysfunction. You may never know it, watching the streams of people who seem to be healthy and whole pass you by. And not all afflictions are on the same scale. But you can count on it. Everyone has something.

Why then doesn’t God heal us all?

Of all the challenging aspects of Christian theology, I find this question is one of the hardest to resolve. It’s a question confirmation students ask, only to have adults give unsatisfying answers that have something to do with “free will” and “God’s mysterious ways.” It’s the question of theodicy—Why does a powerful, loving God allow suffering?—with the knife twist of inequality: wait, some aren’t suffering as much! And look—some are actually being healed!