Prayer needs to be fol­lowed by ac­tion

The London Free Press - - LETTERS - jamie green­wood Jamie Green­wood is lead pas­tor of Faith Pen­te­costal Assem­bly in Glencoe.

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.

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