GOD, CAN YOU HEAR ME?

During the 1980's, many patients that received blood transfusions unintentionally received AIDS. This is the letter of Jim, who suffered conflict over his friend's death. God can touch lives in mysterious ways; here is one of those lives.

January 13, 1985

God,

I know this is kind of weird, talking to you I mean. Can you hear me? Really hear me? I don't think you can, even though Justin always said you could. It doesn't seem right to betray his trust like that, God. You've never answered any of my prayers. Couldn't you have answered just one? His, to stay alive?

I don't know why I'm talking to you. After all you've done, I'm not sure how I can, but I hope you're listening. Maybe I just have to tell you that I can't forgive you for what happened to Justin. And for what happened to me.

He was hemophiliac; you know – his blood didn't clot right. That was how he got AIDS. You didn't have to let him get it. You could have kept that person from giving blood for him. You could have had the doctors test the blood. You should have. Why didn't you?

Justin was my best friend, you know. I'm not sure why, but he liked you a lot. Said you and me were his best friends. Said you saved him. I couldn't. Why didn't you? Some friend you turned out to be.

Justin said before – before he – Justin said that you understood all my sadness. I don't believe that. You didn't have to watch your best friend with AIDS. It messed up his brain. He started acting little again. He asked me to read picture books to him and help him paint a picture. That hurts, you know, and you couldn't fathom anything about it.

How come you didn't fix him? Could you have? I don't think so. Justin said before he got little that he knew that you would heal him, but maybe not the way I'd expect. I don't get that. You – you let him go.

Why did Justin get AIDS? Why not me? He was a really good person. He and you were ok and all. What happened? He didn't do anything to make this happen. God, how could you?

He was a freshman when he got the infected blood. I was a freshman too, but now I'm a senior. He died last year. Said that it was his time. Yeah right. He was supposed to go to college with me. We were going to go to Michigan State. Now I don't want to go, not alone.

He wrote me a letter before he got little all over again. It said:

Jim,

I don't think this AIDS thing is as bad as they say. The doctors are wrong, I am going to get better, in a different way. Remember that God is always there for you. Don't worry, God will take care of me if I go and sing with his angels. God will take care of me now, too. So, Jim, why don't you let him take care of you? God's hurt before. He understands, really he does. His best friend Lazarus died and he never even got to say good bye. He raised him though, cause he had the power that you don't. He loved Lazarus. He loves me. He loves you too. I don't think that I could have this much faith if God hadn't shown himself true to me. I thank him every day that I've gotten to live at least fifteen years without AIDS. When I'm gone, you got to promise me something, pray, for my sake.

Justin

I kept my promise. I'm praying right?

I looked at that Lazarus stuff. I guess it hurt you too, huh? Too bad I can't make Justin rise from the dead. I'd give anything to have him back.

You probably didn't want Lazarus to die, but it was ok, because you knew you would raise him didn't you? And that would make everybody like God and stuff. Justin's mom showed me some verses about how someday those dead Christians are going to be raised and given new bodies. It's hard to believe, and I'm not sure I do. But what if, just what if, you didn't want Justin to hurt, to die, but you knew that you would raise him? And you wanted us to like God too because of Justin. It sure makes more sense than you just killing people off the planet to reduce the populace.

God – uh – I'm sorry for being rude, it just hurts, that's all. And umm – I guess it wasn't your fault he died. I mean, if you're anything like Justin said, you'd love him too much to do that. Kill him, I mean.

This doesn't mean I think you're the only answer to life and all that, but – well – I'm glad you understand. I – Justin would be glad I'm talking to you. I never did before, even when my parents divorced. Maybe that's what his death can teach me – faith.

That's probably why I'm writing this out, so I can have something to believe in. Well, it's been nice talking.

Jim

Oh, and – well, Justin and everything going on made me think of this. It would mean a lot if I asked; if you gave me the answer. It's what I really need to understand. I'm not asking for much, but I'd like to know one thing.

God, can you hear me?