Miracle or no miracle-- what to think?

I was listening to a radio show, and they were talking about how prayer worked and this person was healed and that person got a job and another one returned to the Church, etc., and isn’t it all wonderful?

But… what about those who pray and all that good stuff doesn’t happen? People die, remain jobless, and don’t return to the Church all the time!

And then we say, its God’s will, and God will open a window, and all those things.

I just feel weird about people saying how great God is because some people got what they wanted (which I am happy about, don’t get me wrong!) because we don’t really say anything when people pray and don’t get what they prayed for.

Maybe I think this type of attitude is promoting a bad theology? I’m not exactly sure what is bothering me about this. It just seems not in synch, somehow.

1 Like

It is a form of confirmation bias. When something conforms to our pre-existing beliefs we take it as evidence. When it doesn’t conform to our beliefs we ignore it.

1 Like

There are many reasons why God does not grant certain requests. One is related to this:
‘The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.’ - James 5:16


But surely we shouldn’t promote that?

So when bad things happen, it’s the person’s fault for not being righteous enough?

Might be one reason. God is wiser than us and knows the heart.

I think God is a God of Miracles but also a God of the Cross. Sometimes (rarely) we get closer to God through special graces like in the case of miracles, some other times (more often) we grow closer to God through the acceptance of our own crosses.


So, we shouldn’t be happy, thank God, and exclaim “Miracle” when Jesus healed the lepers, because there were still dozens or hundreds of other lepers Jesus didn’t heal?

The important thing to remember about praying to God is that God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good. That includes when he’s saying “Yes” and when he’s saying “No”. There are reasons why he says one or the other, we might not know them all, but we need to trust him. Now I will grant you that trusting him is sometimes easier said than done.

1 Like

Actually in the Gospels Jesus encourages us to petition GOD for all our needs. And to always be thankful no matter the outcome. In other words put in practice and believe the “Thy will be done”. Firmly believing that HE, knows our needs better than us and if we leave it to HIM we will always be better off.
Now Miracles do happen all the time except that sometimes we fail to see them or appreciate them. I think that more important is to always say Thanks! to HIM.

  1. Find the local Catholic radio station.
  2. Tune in and listen.
  3. Be calmed and edified.

That’s where I heard this! LoL

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. He walks beside us in good times and in bad.

1 Like

It’s not that I don’t understand God’s saying no, but … like suppose a guy’s brother has cancer and he calls and asks for prayer and his brother’s cancer disappears. So my brother has cancer, I call, and my brother’s cancer doesn’t disappear and he dies.

Maybe I think there should be acknowledgement of the prayers there that are not answered in the way someone wanted?

1 Like

So if I beat a child so that she is likely to die and I pray she doesn’t and she survives, then my prayer was powerful and effective. Am I therefore a righteous person?

And if you pray for her and she dies, your prayer was not powerful and was ineffective. Are you therefore not a righteous person?

Seems to be a few holes in this theory…


Try reading the Problem of Pain, by CS Lewis. I think you’ll find it enlightening. He specifically addresses why God allows bad things to happen to otherwise good people, and why sometimes it seems that our prayers go unanswered.

He even touches on why pain - why the Cross - is a necessary part of the Christian journey.

Straight to Amazon and check the Kindle version and…a review mentioned Lewis believes creatures are sentient but not self aware. At which point I saved my self 8 bucks.

That’s not really what he was saying… he spends several paragraphs discussing his definitions and the distinctions he is making. The sentience of animals isn’t even the main point in the whole book. But whatever, I’m not going to try to convince you.

Rather than me buying it, could you sum up his views on animal pain? As briefly as you could? Thanks in advance…

It’s difficult to summarize, since even he admits that that chapter is speculative. Mainly, his goal is to show how it would be possible to offset the suffering for an animal. This is where his distinction between a sentient animal and a self aware animal comes into play. A sentient animal with no sense of self would experience pain in its brain, but it lacks the ability to say ‘I am in pain’. You could not make up for this animals suffering by resurrecting it because it has nothing to connect itself to it’s previous existence. He then speculated that while it is possible that all animals are like this, but that it seems unlikely, since many animals (like elephants and dolphins) seem to have some sense of selfhood - how can God compensate them for their pain? Lewis speculates (and admits it is nothing more than speculation) that the animals could find their perfection through Jesus, with humans acting as the middle man. But he acknowledges that this would only solve the problem with animals owned by humans, and not wild animals. Ultimately he concludes that we can’t know for certain what suffering (as opposed to pain) animals experience, so we can only guess.

I think the reason he included the chapter was to acknowledge that animal suffering is a problem that needs to be addressed, while also stressing that the book is mainly about human suffering, and the problem of animal pain is better discussed elsewhere.

In 2011 I had tests done for cancer, about a month later the doctor phoned and said he urgently wanted to see me, it was non – Hodgkin Lymphoma. This was a name I recognised, our friend had this cancer, and died a few months later. She was also the friend who had helped me find my faith in God, I know she would have prayed about her cancer.

I prayed for the wisdom, strength and peace to do God’s will, whether my cancer was a death sentence, or just an inconvenience. I can only say that from the moment of making this prayer, I have experienced a profound sense of peace, and the thought of cancer has never troubled me for a moment. I have never once prayed for healing.

Like you, I can’t fully understand why some prayers are answered, but I give thanks for the real sense of peace that has helped me find a deeper faith in our Lord. Death is not the problem, we all die, so any healing we may receive is only a temporary solution.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.