Friday, October 19, 2007

Of Human Bondage

In Somerset Maugham's masterpiece Of Human Bondage, we meet Philip, a little boy with a severely deformed foot. One day at school he stumbles across the text in the Bible about faith moving mountains, and prays day and night for his foot to heal so that he can join his classmates on the soccer field.

No faith is more true and sincere than that of a child. Philip has asked God to heal his foot before the start of the school year. The night before classes he can hardly sleep because he is so excited about having two healthy feet. He imagines himself bounding down the stairs and racing across the soccer field.

Morning comes and with trembling hands he lifts the blankets to see - a deformed and mangled foot.

Ian came home from the hospital yesterday. Penn did not come home from the hospital a few weeks ago.

I'm am overjoyed with having my son home. (and he is doing fabulous, by the way) Ecstatic. Relieved. I am going to throw a party. But there will be an empty seat at the table.

I continue to believe that God heard all your prayers for my little boy. Did it change the course of events?

I'll let you answer.

(I highly recommend Of Human Bondage for anyone asking the hard questions on faith. An agnostic, Maugham can help believers, as he has helped me, to see beyond the easy, pat clich├ęs that often permeate many Christian circles.)

2 comments:

Carole said...

I went to Penn's site and cried. I read the chapter from "Of Human Bondage" and wrote a long winded reply that hurt my heart and I wasn't able to hit "publish the comment". So I deleted it. But good stuff Tom, good stuff to make us all think and really try to get a handle on hard things.

Tom said...

I would have enjoyed hearing your thoughts... maybe one day. Thanks.