Monday, December 10, 2007

Oh me of little faith...

Remember this post about 'Healing'?

Or this one about 'Healing (again)'?

Well, I'm not done with the subject yet! But maybe I'm a bit less skeptical this time...

A couple of weeks ago, on Wednesday, I woke up with a pain in my left shoulder. It worsened through the day. By the evening I couldn't pick up my three year old daughter or even look over my shoulder in the car without wincing. On Thursday it was much the same - couldn't look over my shoulder, couldn't pick things up without pain. Don't get me wrong here, it wasn't debilitating pain, just very inconvenient.

Thursday evening was the housegroup meeting. So I asked them to pray for healing. They did and nothing happened... immediately. Friday morning, however, my shoulder was a bit better. By Friday lunchtime it was totally back to normal.

Aaaargh! So I've experienced healing of a totally unverifiable ailment! How annoying is that for a skeptic?

Thank you Jesus!

I guess I get a bit of humility as well as healing here.

But its not all unverifiable. There was a lady at church yesterday who'd just been healed of something much more verifiable. She had been suffering with kidney stones and had had all the scans, etc., which had identified 'many' stones in her kidney. They were giving her a lot of pain. A few weeks ago, the pastor of the church had a specific 'word' for someone with a pain in their lower left back (I was there and remember him saying this). The lady went for prayer ministry at the end of the service. Following this, her pain went, and when she went back for more scans at the hospital and they found that there was only one stone left, which was much more manageable. They did whatever procedure it is they do to break down kidney stones. The nurse warned her that the procedure was going to be extremely painful... it wasn't. Indeed the nurse had never seen anyone suffer so little during the procedure. The next scan revealed that the stone was gone totally.

Healings do happen. I've experienced a minor one and met someone with a more major one.

So my questions now shift to the 'how', 'why' and 'when' questions, and I'll leave the 'if' question behind. I guess its a little step in the right direction.


Marcus Green said...

The thing that I really love here is that you asked for prayer.

I mean, you could sit there grumpily refusing to be budged from your safe haven of skepticism; but instead you put yourself in harm's way by actually asking God to do the very thing you have trouble with - him doing you good.

I guess we all get desperate sometimes. You must have been in agony!

And then, He could do you the favour of leaving you be. After all, that seems to be the case so often. We ask, He says no. Or not yet. But instead, having got you to the point where you actually asked, He actually answers yes! You'd almost think He saw this one coming.

What is the appropriate way to deal with such a situation? What is one to do? Luke 17.11-19 has a useful case study.

I think the usual response is "Thank you".

And then, cos it's late, and I'm in an expansive, push-my-luck mood, you might do worse than to heed the advice of that other great spiritual authority Alan Bennet (in 'History Boys') - "Pass it on boys, pass it on!" - & I don't just mean telling the story, either!

Anonymous said...

A couple of weeks ago I woke up with a bad back. Really painful.

I did some stretches, went for a walk, ignored the discomfort as best as possible.

I went to bed feeling a little better.

The next morning I woke up and realised the back pain had gone!

A miracle for an atheist? Of course not. It just fits in to the 'these things happen some times' category.

Your post fits firmly in to the 'I know prayer works, let's find something, anything that proves it - even if there's no real evidence' category.

Ricky Carvel said...

Hi Mono Ape,

Of course these things happen sometimes. It could have been pure coincidence this time. I'm not claiming otherwise. I'm just recording the coincidence. Next time a coincidence happens I'll record it too. And, given my skeptical viewpoint, I'll also record when the coincidence doesn't happen. But when there's an apparent cause and you see an effect, sometimes, just sometimes the two are linked.

Now explain the kidney stones incident...



Anonymous said...


You describe yourself as 'scientist' and yet have jettisoned any scientific thinking when considering 'miracles'.

You can record coincidences until the cows come home - it won't turn them in to miracles. Just as I could collect slices of cheese on toast with images of 'Jesus' on them, it doesn't make him the son of a god.

The kidney stones: coincidence. Or self-hypnosis (a while back I saw on TV a bloke who self-hypnotised and then had a pain-free hysterectomy). Or placebo. Or simple, every day delusion. Lots of explanations - none of them requiring the supernatural. Remember Occam's Razor!

There's no scientific evidence for efficacy of prayer that I've ever seen (and I have looked). There's 'evidence' cited by religious organisations, but that's as reliable as any other religious claim.

Look hard enough and you'll find 'scientific' evidence for homoeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractors, magic crystals, chakras and ground tiger's penis! They all fit in the same category as Judeo-Christian 'miracles'.