Ask, Receive, Disbelieve, by Andrée Seu
Ten years ago I was diagnosed with cancer, had major surgery to remove it, and have had follow-up scans since then, including the one that resulted in more cancer surgery last spring. With 30 or so CTs and MRIs under my belt, plus countless x-rays and ultrasounds, I’ve had two extremely dramatic, clearly providential interventions–the kind where the big bad spot shows on one scan, then on the rescan a couple of days later it is just gone and the doctors say "hmmmm". These have both involved lots of praying folks and very loud trumpeting of praise to God. But the rest of the time, when I have a set of scans and they are all clear, I am privately thankful to God but typically hesitant to announce His involvement beyond my close circle who wait with me for results. Are the scans clear because God intervened, or did it "just happen"?–even though I know full well that doesn’t match my theology. For some reason in these instances there is a blurry line between common grace and the natural workings of a fallen world, on the one side, and the Lord who numbers the hairs on my head and the days of my life on the other. How much credit does God actually get for no evidence of disease? What are the real implications of living in His blessings? In "Ask, Receive, Disbelieve" Seu keeps the focus on the truth that our lives are in God’s hands, whether via natural means or miraculous ones. Melissa
Ask, Receive, Disbelieve?
Dr. Greenberg found a lump. A “thickening,” she called it, and with professional sangfroid, jotted on my chart. Trained fingertips–2,000 receptors per digit and sensitive to a dot 3 microns high (the diameter of a human hair is 50 to 100 microns), or to textures 75 nanometers deep (one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair)–were the bearers of bad news. Let evolutionists despair and intelligent designers delight: The most advanced robotic “fingers” engineered by man are clumsy with the toddler’s task of picking up a drinking glass.
“All men live under a sentence of death. They all go sooner or later.
But I’m different. I have to go at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning. It would
have been 5, but I had a good lawyer” (Woody Allen as peasant Boris,
soon to face a firing squad in Love and Death). Not so funny anymore.
Not funny either when moments later in her private office, my new
nemesis says, “When you phone for the mammogram, tell them to put you
at the head of the class.”
History-changing upheavals walk in small and unimpressive: a snatch of
tape spied by a lonely night watchman at the Watergate complex; the
word thickening barely breathed into the ether. The universe is
irreversibly altered. There is a chasm fixed, with me on one side and 6
billion people on the other, their comings and goings a blur of absurd
emotion. “Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one
left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one
left.” No lover’s bond, no cable of motherly devotion to her child, no
ardency of friendship, will revoke the ripping apart.
That was the first morning. At evening I called Ronnie, my most violent
friend. “Violent” in the sense of C.H. Spurgeon, who wrote, “ ‘ The
kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by
force.’ But this violence does not end when a man finds Christ; it then
begins to exercise itself in another way….Mark such a man who is a true
Christian, mark his prayers, and you will see there is violence in all
his supplications.” So Ronnie supplicated violently over this sister,
and I went to bed.
The following I report without commentary, in the manner of Luke’s
restrained report of the miraculous rescue of Peter in answer to
prayer, where the prayer warriors on hearing of it said to Rhoda, “You
are out of your mind.” I was put to the head of the class. I was
mammogrammed and ultrasounded and prodded with professional
fingers–and totally exonerated of my death sentence.
Now when do you have a certifiable miracle? Well, never, if you claim a
priori that miracles have ceased. And never if, like me, your mind
leaps like a duck on a June bug to naturalistic explanation: Doctor A
blew it. The latter theory is possible, of course, but on the other
hand, what would it take, and how much proof, before I acknowledged the
supernatural in my life? (Father Abraham says even rising a corpse
wouldn’t do it for folks of a certain ilk. Luke 16:31.) Francis
Schaeffer draws the line precisely here between the Christian mind and
the non-Christian mind: “I am not a Bible-believing Christian in the
fullest sense simply by believing the right doctrines, but as I live in
practice in this supernatural world” (True Spirituality).
My violent intercessor seems to think that since we prayed watchfully
(Colossians 4:2), and since the request we sought was granted, it’s a
no-brainer that I need to give public glory to God. There are
precedents, of course: The leper is healed and forthwith told by Jesus
to go show himself to the priest (Matthew 8:4). Still I protested
vainly: “Many godly people pray and are not healed.” Violent replied,
“You were. Shout it from the housetops”–plus words to the effect that
it’s a dangerous thing to ask the Almighty for something, and then,
having received it, to flirt with unbelief. There was no gainsaying
that, and in the end I saw the truth of it, and yielded doubt to faith,
and that is why I tell you this.
So here receive my public thanks to God. To Him alone be praise.