My brother is a doctor and probably a good one. However, when I mentioned I hoped for a cure for my mother's ulcerative colitis, he simply said, "There was no cure and I might as well stop hoping for one. She just needs to learn to live with it."
I think his über rational attitude may stem from being asked to produce a miracle one too many times. Doctors know they aren't God and can't produce miracles and probably tire from such ridiculous requests (usually implied) and the pressure that comes from being asked to do what one cannot perform. They didn't take student loans and study hard in a competitive environment to get through school to be considered incompetent; not being able to perform miracles; so they tell you to stop looking for one. He also wants us to appreciate what rational medicine has to offer. We get it.
When you're sick, you need a good doctor. But but you also need God and miracles. Look in the Gospels and see all the sick people that came to Jesus. Jesus never taught that doing so was a dumb idea. The sick will always come to Jesus looking for a miracle. I believe miracles happen today. I believe in the continuity of Christ and his works on earth through his church and the Holy Spirit. Then, why don't we see miraculous healings now like then? I don't think it's because Jesus delegated his healing ministry to academic institutions and doctors. If he did, maybe there's a text in a cave somewhere waiting to be discovered relating that.
I suspect we are all subtly further from God and belief than we think. Perhaps we are more closely aligned with the "American Dream" and more attuned to the esteem of others than of God. But can't God do anything he wants to? I suppose, but God works within parameters of his choosing for his own reasons.
1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.
2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. "Where did this man get these things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!
3 Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.
4 Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor."
5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.
6 And he was amazed at their lack of faith.
The Bible teaches that Jesus could not do any miracles there because of their unbelief. Amazing!
The problem was not with just an individual's unbelief but his community's unbelief. Communities of churches need to grow in their faith together. Then, we may see miracles disrupt our physical reality. I think David Platt has it right in his book, "Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream." In his book he challenges us to ask: what would authentic faith look like? Hint: it doesn't look like the American Dream.
I don't have a formulaic view of what faith is. Consequently, I don't believe we should start chanting "confessions of faith" and constantly listening to Bible tapes because "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." What we need right now is something new and wonderful inside of us. Bible reading, meditation, study, church attendance, and worship have something to do with it. From there, we need to focus on our relationships: with God, the church, our family, and with everyone around us. We need to make those relationships right. We should seek to be who God wants us to be "in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12b). Instead, most of us are seeking professional achievement and entertainment to relieve our stress. I'm with most of us in this.
The sick will continue seeking miracles. The bible seems to teach us to expect that. Unfortunately, many will not find the physical healing they're looking for. However, many will learn to accept their finite time on earth and find assurance in their relationship with God. They will come along further in finding honest and authentic faith than they ever imagined. That is more miraculous than physical healing. I will continue desiring the miracle of physical healing for my mother and my brother will continue being frustrated that he cannot produce them.
God is God, people are people, and doctors are just doctors.
Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible,
New International Version®, NIV®.
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