Praying for Doctors

Erik Cooper —  August 4, 2010 — 8 Comments

Her name is Jasmine and she lives in a Honduran slum.  We met her on our first CityCom overseas adventure this past June.  She captured all of us (especially Mike).

Perhaps unexpectedly.

Not accidentally.

Jasmine is developmentally challenged. She can’t walk or speak.  And to complicate matters, her parents are mute (they can hear but not talk).  Getting an accurate understanding of her challenges was difficult, to say the least.

Through scribbled shards of paper and animated charade-like gesturing, Jasmine’s family was desperately asking for help.  And our compassionate American-Christian spirit immediately kicked into action.

We had translators on the phone with doctors.  Businessmen brainstorming potential funding for therapy.  Logistical minds coordinating transportation.

It was beautiful in so many ways.

And terribly sad in another.

The conviction of the Holy Spirit flattened me in the comfort of our hotel room later that night.  In all our rightly-motivated desire to live out compassion for this beautiful little girl, I failed.

Miserably.

As a leader, I never stopped the flurry of godly activity to do the most important thing.

Pray that God would heal her.

I was raised pentecostal (I know, there’s a support group for that).  And even though I think our particular church was pretty well balanced, I still grew up around a lot of “hyper-charismatics” (if I grew up around you don’t worry, I’m definitely referring to those other people).  People who wielded the Holy Spirit as a manipulation tool or to empower their own insecurity (hey, we keep it real here).  I mean really, how do you ever present a counterpoint to someone who starts every sentence with “God told me?

Over the years, I began to subconsciously distance myself from this unhealthy expression. And somewhere in the mix I also seemed to lose my belief in the mysterious, supernatural, and biblical way God longs to interact with our lives.

I stopped praying for healing and started praying for doctors.

I overcorrected.

Which actually made me incorrect.

I’m glad our team mobilized in a tangible expression of love for this precious little girl. It was the right thing to do.  I believe God works through medicine, and I know He equips us with the ingenuity and creativity to respond to practical needs.  That is His Spirit at work.

But I also believe in the miraculous.  And sometimes we simply reason Him out of the equation.

I want faith that embraces mystery.  That risks the unknown.  That expects God to intervene.

Do I have that kind of faith? Or will my faith only ever be big enough to pray for doctors?

8 responses to Praying for Doctors

  1. Wow, man… lots of truth in that…and growing up in the slain-in-the-spirit/speaking-in-tongues environment that I did, I can totally relate to this on a very personal level.

  2. As individuals in the medical field Tom and I sometimes struggle with this too…I grew up the same way…hearing of miraculous healings…meeting people who had been healed…and also watching some individuals refuse medical treatment in misguided faith that “God will heal me if I just believe!” I have seen medical miracles…and failures…and families that believe 80+ year old individuals should be kept on life support until God “heals them.” I will admit it makes one jaded, and cynical. Thanks for the reminder, we serve a God that heals, and nothing is too great, or impossible for Him!

    • Thanks Claire. You mentioned the other side of the equation – not seeking medical attention in feeling that means you have no faith. I think that’s a dangerous perspective, too. What you guys do in the medical field is God-ordained. Faith isn’t in opposition to medicine, but I have been challenged not to always seek the “logical, figure it out yourself” answer first. Sometimes I just reason God right out of the equation. Thanks for the input…

  3. Erik, i’m encouraged by this post…as you already know, for 11 months i will be challenged to want a “…faith that embraces mystery. That risks the unknown. That expects God to intervene. Thank you for being a “pastor” (i know, i know) who seeks to experience the miraculous and not expel it!

  4. I love this very honest and searching post, Erik. If Jesus isn’t a healer, what is he? I am totally connecting with your journey here.

  5. Thanks for the candor, Erik. Once upon a time … while driving I over-corrected. Landed upside down in a ditch facing the opposite direction. True story. Fortunately, the miracle working God to which you alluded kept His hand on me, and I walked away from it. Thankfully, it appears you’ve kept it on the road following your over-correction.

    Kudos to Claire on her “spot on” analysis.

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