I saw this Jesus meme the other day and, well, yes!
First let me say that I believe that prayer is an essential and worthwhile endeavor. In one way or another, prayer is powerful. Prayer is not a substitute for action. I don’t think we’re supposed to be able to pin down exactly how the whole thing works. Followers of Jesus are called to pray and that is enough for me.
The other half of the coin holds statistics on the many health issues that are due to numerous small choices that add up over many years. What I’m referring to is what researchers call “modifiable behavioral risk factors.”. Please do not read this to imply that ALL health problems are within our control, or due to something that we did or did not do.
Praying for healing is never a bad thing. But we should remember that in many cases, it’s probably not in our best interest to be bailed out of the consequences of years of neglect, imbalance, misuse, and abuse of our bodies.
Or, to put another spin on it…
Maybe Jesus is using that diabetic neuropathy or high cholesterol to show the true value of temperance and exercise, and for you to witness the boost in self confidence and rekindled physical ability that goes with that. Taking some medicine may be necessary. But this alone is not the full dose of proper treatment.
Maybe the Lord is working through that sore lower back to show you the joy of getting up and outside more. To be manipulated or medicated or injected would cause you to miss out on the fresh air and margin in your schedule that you desperately need. These treatments are sometimes necessary, but should not be the first or only intervention. A quick fix on the table and then back to the same postures, movement patterns, and schedule is missing the full dose.
Maybe the Lord is using (my) arthritic hip to show the need for moderation, a nudge toward focusing my skill set and interests to the benefit of others. To not have this would be to miss out on genuine empathy and understanding of what others are feeling and facing in their lives, whether or not their problem is self imposed. It would be negligent to hold on to the hard lessons acquired through experience.
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A conversation between Master Shifu and Grand Master Oogway:
“Master Shifu, there are no accidents.”
“Yes, I know. You said that already. Twice.”
“Well, that was no accident either.”
– – – – – – – –
Miracle cures are usually geared toward individual health problems. But these problems are experienced by entire “whole” people who would benefit most from a more comprehensive cure. In most cases, would God not desire us to get the full dose?
Or maybe a partial fix or no fix at all is in store, to make room for a more important lesson. Even in the cold, unfeeling face of what seems to be pointless suffering…by faith I believe there is a beneficial end, even when we cannot immediately see it.
May we pray differently and rethink what should be labeled miraculous. May we catch a ray of sunlight on a cold day in February.