A Christian Worldview of God, Day 6

The discussion about healing continues, and it is interesting, but I think it sidetracks us from the issue. How do we show GOD in our fiction?

I agree with Beth that writers need to show Him as they know Him. So someone who has experienced God’s miraculous power may choose to include a way of showing God in that light. But showing only that one aspect of God is exactuly what I am talking about—too much Christian fiction paints God in one-dimension.

For example, when I say “miracles,” the discussion turns to healing and stays there. What about the other miracles Jesus performed—turning water to wine, stilling the storms, providing a net full of fish for his weary disciples, telling Peter to pull a coin from the mouth of a fish, feeding thousands of people with a small amount of food? That’s not to mention that I Corinthians 12 actually separates healing from miraculous power:

9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers … (NIV)

Where are the stories today of water to wine?

Now, I know I cited Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River with its depiction of a man walking off the bed of a truck and not falling (the miracle of defying gravity) as an example of the type fiction I’m talking about.

In this case, there was a bigger issue. ***SPOILER ALERT*** In the end, the father dies—steps in front of a bullet—to save his son, but before he expires, he performs a miracle. He trades his healthy lungs for his son’s diseased ones, so the boy not only lives but now thrives, healthy and whole. All the while, the other son, who is a murderer—an unrepentant, vengeful man running from the law—is not even confronted about his sin.

Which boy had the greater need for healing, the one with the temporal need, or the one with the eternal?

Painting God as someone more interested in patching up clay pots than in replicating the image of His Son, in my thinking, is problematic.

After all, we all die. Scripture is clear that this world is temporal. No matter how much faith a person has, in the end he will die unless Jesus returns first. Which puts a bit of a crimp in the notion that healing depends on faith—no one must have enough faith, since in the end, everyone dies.

Eternal God is not short-sighted—He’s looking out for us long-term. Yes, He cares about what happens to us here and now, because He cares about us. But in His caring He longs for us to be like His Son. If our health gets in the way of us becoming like Jesus, what is our health? It is an impediment, an obstacle that has to go. Why would God not remove that?

God also made us to give Him glory. If through our response to sickness we can better glorify Him, then what is sickness? It is a means to the greatest purpose of life. Why would God take that from us?

In other words, God is the great physician, but He is not only the great physician.

Take Lazarus as an example. Jesus purposefully did not go to him when he was sick, in essence refusing to heal him. Martha clearly stated their faith: “Lord, if you’d been here my brother would not have died.” Faith was not the issue. Jesus told his men what it was about:

“Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe
(John 11:14b-15a)

Lazarus had to die to provide for a greater miracle.

So, too, today. These clay pots in which we live will perish. In the process, God is performing a greater miracle than patching pots.

He’s taken those who would be eternally dead because of sin and raised us to eternal life. He is preparing His bride. He is expanding His family. He is growing more branches. And more specifically, more personally, He is fashioning the new life He gave me, so that I am becoming more and more like Jesus.

That’s the God I want the world to know.

Published in: on November 21, 2006 at 12:09 pm  Comments (12)  
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