Prayer needs to be followed by action
Have you ever seen an ostrich bury its head in the sand?
Ostrich behaviour has been used as an analogy for people or institutions that want to avoid their problems.
Cognitive neuroscientist Caroline Leaf has said the same about the Christian church, that it is burying its head in the sand.
Leaf has a doctorate in communication pathology and part of her studies had to do with how Christians use the scripture in real life problem-solving.
In an interview with Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C., Leaf said, like and ostrich that buries its head in the sand, Christians use scripture to avoid their problems.
Her point is that, when Christians have a problem, they speak scripture about the situation and believe the problem will disappear when, in most cases, the opposite is true.
For example, many of us know someone who has passed away due to cancer. In many cases, a pastor and family and friends pray about the situation, often using a verse such as Psalm 103:3, which states that God heals all our diseases.
Days, or weeks, or months later, the person dies of cancer, because scripture didn’t solve the problem or heal the disease.
We are left to wonder if we didn’t have enough faith. Some begin to doubt whether the scriptures are true.
Now, I believe the scriptures are 100 per cent true and therefore, we need to take the whole Bible into account and not just a few verses, because as much as the Bible says God will heal all our diseases, we also have accounts in the Bible where people were sick.
Job is probably the best example in the Bible of a person who was a righteous man and suffered greatly, in all kinds of ways, including severe physical afflictions. Timothy also had stomach problems, while Paul had a thorn in the flesh that some believe to also be a physical illness.
As much as God may be able to heal all our diseases, there seems to be times when God, for one reason or another, chooses not to do so.
At the same time, we must remember that disease was brought into the world, not by God, but by Adam and Eve. God never chose to allow disease into the world.
But here is the point I’m trying to make, with the help of the research done by Leaf. As Christians, we sometimes have a disconnect between what our mind is telling us and what our heart is telling us.
Everyone is subject to accidents, failure of the heart, disease, sickness, pain, and even death. However to hide these problems or make them go away, we tend to rely on scripture believing everything is going to be okay and then we ignore the problem.
The problem, however, is still there, much like what many believed 100 years ago, at the end of the First World War. It was the war to end all wars, but yet war continues to happen today and soon we will be honouring and celebrating the many men and women who sacrificed their lives before, during, and after that war that didn’t end all wars.
And, that ostrich that hides its head in the sand to avoid its problems, that isn’t actually true. Ostriches dig holes in the sand in which to lay their eggs, and several times a day, the ostrich must put its head in the hole to turn the eggs. So an ostrich that puts its head in the sand actually is addressing its problems.
Therefore, maybe we should be more like the ostrich and face our problems head on. Use scripture as a solution, but follow up the scripture with action that helps be a part of the solution, because many of God’s promises require action.
And may we all realize we can be part of the solution toward peace and the healing of diseases by using the very brains and hearts God gave us to make this world a better place.