Sonya lay scared in her bed, shivering with fear of her stepfather. He had once, when very drunk, lifted her skirt and kissed between her legs. He said he would do more and more such things as she got older if she was good, but if she was bad or told anyone, he would be rough and beat her.
Now, she had just turned seven, and she knew he wanted to try something new with her that night. She was terrified of what that might be, but she could not escape him, so she must wait.
Suddenly, she remembered something a friend had said. “Sometimes, I’m scared of stuff, but I ask Jesus for help, and he makes it all better. I just think at him and he helps!”
In desperation, with her stepfather’s footsteps approaching her door, she thought, “Please, Jesus, save me! Don’t let him hurt me!”
The footsteps stopped immediately, then retreated, and her stepfather never hurt her again.
Sonya thanked Jesus, and soon became a Christian.
Shortly thereafter, her grandfather became very ill. When Sonya saw her mother crying, and learned Grandpa was suffering, she went to her room to pray.
Closing the door and kneeling by her bed, she clasped her hands and prayed, “Jesus, mommy’s daddy is hurting really bad. I know we can’t live here forever, but please don’t let him hurt so much.” She had barely finished when she heard her mother calling, and ran back to her.
“What is it, Mommy?”
“Grandpa is all better! Grandma just called and said the cancer is all gone. The doctors can’t understand it!”
Sonya smiled and bounced with joy, and ran to thank Jesus as soon as she could.
But grandparents don’t live forever, and her grandfather did die a few years later. True to her prayer request, he died painlessly and peacefully in his sleep, as did her grandmother not long after.
Sonya grew and went off to college to be a teacher. Her mother was ill when it was time to go, though it was nothing serious. Nobody Sonya knew was ever seriously ill – at least not after she heard about it.
Her stepfather had become a real dad to her instead of a terror, and had even stopped drinking. She hugged him as he helped her settle into her dorm, and he held her close, then at arm’s length. They rarely had moments alone like this one, and a hint of the old fear arose in her, though she knew it was groundless.
He must have seen it in her eyes, for he said, “Sonya, you have gone from the cutest little girl to a quite beautiful woman. I’m sorry for the way I treated you at first. I’m not sure how my sickness was cured, but I’m so glad it was. I never wanted to hurt you. But you’re in college now, and I’m not the only one to have a type of sickness that makes men want to hurt women as physically perfect as you.”
Sonya smiled. “Don’t worry, Dad,” she replied. “Jesus saved me from you, and he’ll keep me safe from them, too.”
He kissed her forehead and gave her another tight hug. “Your mother and I love you. Let us know if you need anything.”
And so it went for her whole life. Whenever Sonya encountered suffering, she prayed, and almost always received an immediate answer.
Almost. Prayer did not help her pass tests when she didn’t study.
This is an attempt at my own brand of Christian fiction. In essence, this is a picture of how I imagine the world should work if Christianity is true, and the fact that prayers are never answered like this, or in any way distinguishable from coincidence, is damning evidence against Christianity. Of course, it has been argued that an all-powerful and all-loving god would not let cancer exist at all, or the mental illness(es) behind pedophilia, and I find those arguments compelling, but for the sake of the story having any demonstrative ability, there had to be a danger to avoid.
This isn’t written very well, I don’t think. It’s very difficult, I found, to write a story with a truly benevolent deity, because I couldn’t think of much for the character to DO.
This doesn’t stop me from wishing that my life experience was closer to that of Sonya’s than my own. It would be so amazing to have an almighty friend taking care of me for the asking, rather then the solitude and abandonment I have experienced from the alleged spiritual realm.