You have been taught that God is omnipotent and omniscient. You believe both of these things. You know what it feels like to have prayers answered, whether significant or mundane. You have had problems large enough that thousands of dollars were at stake, and problems as small as flies disturbing your sanity by buzzing around your room. You know how these issues have historically loved refusing to be solved until the moment you have lifted your voice in prayer. You have known from experience, at least since the age of thirteen, tasted and seen, the power and success of prayer.
A couple of years ago, The Problem made its way into your life. Its host was a man who became your best friend, whom you grew to love as yourself, to love more than anyone else in the history of your life, and for whom you would gladly sacrifice more than you ever thought you were capable of before you met him.
The Problem did not, at first, appear to be significantly different from the afflictions you were used to dealing with in yourself. Although you already believed the world and its human population had serious, serious issues, you still managed to underestimate the scale of The Problem. In the beginning, you thought about it in human, physical, comprehensible terms that drew direct lines from cause to effect, and consequently, to solution. It took you far too long to realize you were dealing with a demon, possibly a legion of them, that had no respect for human knowledge or authority.
You are in a love that is almost more than your body can take, and the object of your love is the primary victim of this demonic Problem. The Problem affects your happiness, your sanity and your functionality, almost as much as it affects his. Aside from the host himself, you believe the Problem cuts deeper into you than anyone else, even those who share his blood. This is your first experience of truly traumatizing love. After a year, you realize how much your speech and actions can’t cure anything, that his will and strength are inconsequential. You recognize that neither you nor the host, nor a soul on the planet, can do a damn thing about The Problem; it is beyond the scope of flesh-and-blood beings. This Problem makes all your past problems look like downright jokes. All your prayers, from the moment you were born till date, have been playground activities. What you are now facing is a minefield, situated right at the edge of a deep, deadly chasm.
Last year, the nature of your prayers changed. They became desperate where before they used to be solemn; loud screams where they used to be silent or at worst, fervent whispers. They became tear-filled where previously, all your messages to God had been sent with dry eyes that watched on as others around you seemed to have dams breaking forth from within them. You have never prayed like this before. You have never fasted with such dedication, pacing your room ceaselessly, sleep-deprived, and on an empty stomach, yet full of energy to plead with God, over and over again, to deal with this Problem you have come to realize nobody but Himself has the power to solve. You have never made such fervent attempts to bargain with God. It doesn’t matter, right now, that you have never had anything to offer Him, which He does not already own; nothing to give Him without His own strength flowing through you to complete the giving.
You have never, ever wanted anything more in your life, and this surprises you because you have never quite known yourself to be this selfless. Why does this Problem, which has next to nothing to do with you, feel like it is tearing you apart? Why does the death of your best friend feel like it will kill you? When did you gain the ability to wear someone else’s skin, their struggle, as your own? Your investment in The Problem’s solution is beyond rationality. It is still the love for the host, which refuses to stop growing, that is continuously trying to break you, pushing you into new frontiers of desperation every day.
But God watches you shake and writhe on your bedroom floor for several days, months, close to two years, in silence. You can’t help but wonder what is wrong, wonder what you are doing wrong.
You turn to the Word for answers. Your read Jesus’ parable about the woman who bothered a judge so much that the latter granted her request, just so she would leave him alone (Luke 18). You heard Jesus say, “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off, I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” You try to believe, but can’t help but wonder, after years, whether you happened to misunderstand the true definition of the word “quickly.” Where is the justice you were promised? When will it sweep in to remedy the unjust arbitrariness of your best friend having been chosen by the Celestials to be a host to the stubbornest demons you have ever had the displeasure of encountering?
Over two thousand years ago, as evidenced through Mark 9, Jesus’ disciples were facing the same problem as you are—unable to cast out troublesome demons on their own. Your Bible tells you how some manuscripts quote Jesus’ response to the disciples’ confusion as such: “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.” But when your fasting proves just as ineffective as your prayers on their own, you conclude that this kind of demon is even worse than those the disciples were dealing with back in the first century AD. You resort, once again, to helpless crying.
Your desperation soon turns into furious, manic anger. Nothing and no one on earth can abate it. The object of your fury—your God—is beyond the range of the pummeling you would love to inflict on Him. The fury breeds frustration, particularly because there has never been a substantial way to express your anger. All forms of rebellion you could adopt would invariably have consequences for you, without affecting Him in the least. There is nothing you can do but allow the anger to fester within you, turning your heart into refined steel.
Your prayers once again change form—this time, from long, drawn out supplications to curt commands (as if you have authority over God): “Fix it. You better fix it.”
The Problem progresses, unsolved, growing bigger than even you thought was possible. The host continues approaching self-destruction at accelerating rates. There is nothing you can do.
You have been taught that God is omniscient, so even when you lose the energy to pray, you know He knows what you are thinking, what you still want most in the world.
You have been taught that God is omnipotent, so you know that no matter how insurmountable the Problem may seem, He can solve it with a sentence as simple as “Let there be light.” You try recommending a phrase to Him: “Let the demon(s) be gone.” So, so easy for an omnipotent God, if only He would say it. He does not say it.
The only conclusion you think plausible, now, is that there are prayers God simply refuses to hear. With God, there is no “cannot.” There is only “will not.” And it seems He will not attend to you when you most want Him to.
This is it, then. You have grown tired of God. There is nothing more you are willing to engage. You are willing to break your resolve for one thing, and one thing alone: the solution to The Problem. If He does that, perhaps you can be friends again.
You are tired of everything and everyone. You don’t want any more encouragement from your friends of Faith. You don’t want any more motivational messages or stories about situations they think are parallel to your Problem, but are really, truly, not. You don’t want to spend a second more of your time trying to explain to confused, concerned, and ultimately unhelpful individuals, why you would go “so far” as to call the Problem a demonic affair. You don’t want to talk to anybody about your relationship with the host, or about how much it fucking hurts, or about any other matters of Faith. You don’t want to hear any more horse-shit about how this situation that you think is so awful might, in fact, be beneficial to any or all parties involved; you cannot see whom the death of the person you love most in the world might possibly benefit. His death will kill you. (Maybe it would benefit the people who already want you dead?) You are leaving everyone’s texts read and unreplied. They have nothing useful to say to you.
On several days, you cannot function. The Problem disrupts your life and your mind in too many ways to ignore. There is only one thing you want.
Solution or nothing.
Solution or nothing.
(Solution or death?)
(It is killing you anyway.)
But God remains indifferent.