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.
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.
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?