Needlessly hard?

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I recently spent hours in A and E with my granddaughter, her third bout of severe chest pains in two weeks. Even the consultant couldn’t find the cause, though they were able, from numerous tests, to rule out many things. Only strong analgesics are able to stop the pain, leaving her unable to have a clear head for her A levels (she missed one altogether the morning I was with her). Doubtless stress is adding greatly to her condition.
I felt dis-empowered. All I could give in the way of comfort were empty platitudes. You see, riding the tide of being an outstanding, straight A student, she has embraced extreme and antagonistic atheism. She now feels “religion” is for the ignorant and gives her little brother a hard time about his simple faith.
I’ve been blessed with so many infallible proofs that faith comes naturally to me, but I can still remember the dreadful pressure of purely self-reliance before I came to know God. My greatest joy at salvation was the realisation that there was a power beyond me and it was loving, benevolent. I knew my own inadequacy and that of my fellow humans. Minus God we were without hope.
She looked to the doctors to “fix” her and grew angry at them when they couldn’t help. But doctors are not God, just sincere human beings, overworked, and often sick or in pain themselves (the consultant shared how he himself suffered severe back pain and just had to “grin and bear it” so he could tend to others, encouraging her to go ahead with the A levels regardless.)
Normally I’d offer prayer, phone others to pray for her, remind that God was in control and would take care of the A levels, but I could do none of these. I prayed silently for her but it was hard to have faith for a miracle as I had the feeling that God may believe the lesson to be more important than instant healing. I know He loves her and is working in her life, that He will take care of everything long-term, but it’s hard to see her suffer like this knowing comfort and help are so close by.
My youngest daughter expressed a while back that even if God were not real she’d rather go through life believing He was because of the comfort it brings – the de-stressing element. I know what she means. Not everyone has been blessed with seeing all the miracles we have but my heart aches for the true atheist, all alone with nothing but his flawed fellow man to fall back on, shouldering the horrors of this world knowing in his heart he is powerless to stop the hate, the suffering, even in his own life. Our choices can change a great deal but they can’t bring back the dead, heal a child, deal with all the hate and greed. Man tries to be his own God, he endeavours, often sincerely, to help his fellow man, but the honest heart knows how far we fall short – life has a way of teaching us, at that point, without a force beyond ourselves, how empty and hopeless the void.