Christian Faith Healing: All Eggs in One Basket
You find out a loved one has an incurable disease and doctors fear there’s nothing they can do. Believers may turn to Christian faith healing as the only option. But is it fair to depend on it as the only option?
Parents of an 8-month old who died after days of diarrea and breathing problems face possible criminal charges in the boy’s death. They were already on probation after a guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter charges in the 2011 death of their 2-year-old son, from pneumonia.
Apparently, they decided to pray for their children’s recovery rather than take them to doctors that could have treated them and possibly saved their lives.
They put their faith in God’s healing abilities. They put all of their faith in God’s healing abilities.
Part of me really wants to admire this kind of faith. That part of me looks at people who are so confident in what they believe they can compel the Almighty to do just because they ask Him to and is truly amazed at that level of belief. Then the bigger, more rational part of me slaps the other part of me upside the head and I snap out of it.
There’s nothing wrong with having faith. I have faith. A lot of people I know have faith.
That isn’t a problem.
Where I think a problem begins is when we have so much faith that we end up trying to direct God rather than worship Him.
Let’s think about it for a second. How do we know that there wasn’t a doctor who could have cured either child, who just happened — through what most naysayers would dismiss as mere coincidence — to work past the end of his normal shift so that he’d be available on the day those parents would bring the child in (if they’d done so). How do we know there wasn’t a doctor in need of some good news in her own life, and who would have been on duty, able to save one of those children, and rejoiced in what she’d consider a blessing from God by being able to successfully treat the patient? How do we know that another family waiting for word on their loved one wasn’t sitting there needing to hear a message about God from people who believe as strongly as they do, and this was an opportunity God intended for these folks to hear from true believers?
Of course, we don’t know. There’s that tired old saying about the Lord working in “mysterious ways,” but since we can’t understand God’s motives, it does cover a lot of ground.
It’s entirely possible that God’s will was for the parents to have learned from relying on faith-healing the first time around. It’s entirely possible that in either case, God’s will would have been that the parents do more than rely on faith alone.
God gives us free will. The price that comes with that is that we have the ability to defeat a portion of His plans for our lives.
Since we don’t know, since we can’t understand God’s motives, then it’s entirely possible either of the scenarios above was in play.
These parents, in relying only on prayer, actually restricted the movement of God: rather than allowing prayer to be part of their children’s treatment, with doctor’s care — or apparently most anything else — allowed to be another part, they essentially told God that they believe He can pull off the save, but he needs to do it this particular way.
Their particular way. That’s not faith. On some level, that’s human arrogance.