Saturday, July 11, 2009

Puppeteer. Or...?

So what do you think, King (or Queen) Solomons out there? Are the parents innocent or guilty? If guilty, of what?

I'm talking about the Worthingtons who are on trial in Oregon City following the death of their toddler who had a large cyst on her neck. The cyst was benign and could easily have been drained and treated. Instead, it swelled when the child developed a cold. It closed off the airway and she essentially died of suffocation. The parents and family prayed and laid hands on the girl. They say in court that they did all they could. They don't believe in doctors or medicine. They believe that their only recourse in the face of illness and disease is prayer.

And if the child dies (doctors say she could easily have been saved, even on the day of her death), it must be God's will.

But if it's God's will--and the faith and earnest prayers of loving family who have thrown all other sources of help overboard can't or won't change God's will--then why pray?

Is God the great puppeteer? Is it all predetermined, choreographed, cast in something harder than diamonds, more durable than titanium, more eternal than gravity? Or does God give us prayer and then some? Does God give us the tools of healing to free us to serve other people? Or does God only tell us to pray faithfully while perpetually taunting us with random answers? Is God the Great Physician and Healer or the Great Arbitrary Manipulator?

Does God give some people insight and make other people blind? Is God constantly playing games with us, constantly changing the rules and the scores, so that even when we think we have enough faith we end up hearing God push the buzzer and chant, "Ennnhhh! Sorry! You lose. Shoulda prayed HARDER and it might have worked out. Your fault."

Or does God want us to get off our buns and use every tool and opportunity for healing to the max? What does it mean to pray, "Thy kingdom come; they will be done?"

Last October we took Jean up to OHSU to have her head taken apart and put back together. We prayed for healing before, during and after the surgery. We prayed for the team while the work was going on. We used every tool God gave us. I don't trust or love God less because we had one of the very best neurosurgeons in the country working inside her skull. I thank God for the abundance of the gifts we were given.

I think God has cut the marionette strings and wants us to stand on our legs like the people he made us to be.


Pastor Roger

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