With that in mind, I posted a comment on my Facebook profile to the effect that I've pretty much run out of optimism.
Next thing I know, a no doubt well-meaning acquaintance of mine (we were often theological "sparring partners" in college) tried telling me that my illness is basically God's way of testing me. Those of you who are my Facebook friends can follow the conversation there if you have a mind to.
Anyway, after a theological discussion that I never wanted to get into (seeing as I was - and am - pretty despondent about the whole long-term illness thing) I wrote this:
OK, imagine this scenario. A friend of yours is pointing a gun at a child and says he's going to kill her. You could easily prevent him from doing so - in fact, a single word is all it would take to bring him to his senses - but instead you stand by and allow him to pull the trigger and either kill or horribly injure the child. Are you not as much to blame as the man who pulled the trigger?
How then can you draw a distinction between God causing suffering and merely allowing it? Either way a person's suffering and the means of causing it are sanctioned by God. Can you really not see how terrible that would be - what an uncaring monster that would make God?
So what do you think? Is suffering caused by God, whether actively or passively? Or is it, as I believe, usually just a random thing that has no meaning or purpose whatsoever?