Thursday, May 01, 2008

Healing: Part 2

On May 27th our cell group will be starting a 12 week course called The Truth Project, with Dr. Del Tackett (http://www.thetruthproject.org/)

We are bursting at the seams with people who wanted to participate. There is such a hunger for truth. It seems that there is a heart cry among people today, echoing the words of Pontius Pilate, who asked cynically, "What is truth?"

In the first of 12 DVD's, Dr. Tackett challenges people to probe underlying assumptions behind statements generally accepted in our culture as being "right." Throughout the series he teaches participants to think, reason, and challenge commonly held assumptions and contrast them with truth as presented in God's Word.

Reading The Spiritual Brain got me thinking a lot about assumptions, especially the part of the book outlining a study on prayer that had unexpected results.

The study of more than 1,800 patients who underwent heart bypass surgery led the press to ridicule those who believed in the effectiveness of prayer.

Oliver Burkeman, in The Guardian, wrote, "If a religious person offers to pray for you the next time you fall ill, you may wish politely to ask them not to bother. The largest scientific study into the health effects of prayer seems to suggest it may make matters worse."

To read the details of this study and more, it is well worth reading the book, but I got to thinking; in the statement above is the intrinsic assumption that continued life here on earth is the only right answer to prayer. Anything else and many people consider that God didn't answer or didn't care.

In my opinion that definition of "success" is skewed from the start.

Consider 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 (New Living Translation)
1 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. 4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.

I also considered that attempting to influence God through prayer, without entering into a communion with him that involves listening with the ears of the soul, is to attempt to use him as a sort of talisman. This is not the way Jesus prayed.
I concluded that it would be very difficult to study prayer scientifically, or experimentally when there may be so many wrong assumptions made by those gathering the data.
1 Corinthians 2:14-15 (New Living Translation)
14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.
That God answers prayer is a trustworthy fact. I know it to be true by personal experience. I loved the balanced way that Nicky Gumbel shared on healing at Alpha on Tuesday, "Sometimes God heals and sometimes he doesn't and he heals most people through the medical profession. And sometimes he does miracles."
Lord I am content to trust you. I don't need to understand or explain every situation, it is enough to know that you are Love and the one who is called Faithful and True.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen to that sister... Yes God is a healing, loving and soverign God. People all too often try to influence God, I have been guilty of that. It is a mystery to me how God is working in situations around us. I am overwhelmed at all the answered prayers that I have seen. At the same time a lot of answers to prayer come not in the way I expect, or can understand, but I know that God has a plan a soverign plan and I just need to trust in his outcomes.

Thanks for today's post, I could really relate and am encouraged by scriptures.
Libby

Angcat said...

Yes B., God's ways are not ours. Both 'Healing' posts are so true. To try and explain to an unbeliever will be fruitless unless the Holy Spirit is teaching them and opening their hearts to understand.
I am in that situation with someone in my family right now, and I know it is only God's work that will reveal truth to his heart.
May He bless you with all good gifts today.
Love A.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Perhaps we need to realize that one can be more disabled by envy than by cerebral palsy; more crippled by spite than by spina bifida ... God heals what's wrong, not what we ask him to ... at least that's my experience.

Belinda said...

"God heals what's wrong, not what we ask him to"

Like a skilled surgeon! You are so right.