Friday, September 28, 2007

Take this cup vs. thy will be done

So now we wait.

The person in charge of scheduling surgeries is out until early next week. I've got a weekend ahead of me, those two days I race toward yet sometimes dread once they arrive. It's much easier for me to sit in my edit suite and edit a :30 second television commercial, as I have been today, than to face Ian's future.

It's that hiding thing again.

Lots of friends, family and online writers are praying for Ian. Earnest, sincere prayers. The night before his echocardiogram, many family members prayed that the test would reveal that the hole in Ian's heart had closed.

It hasn't.

The question of why a prayer "works" one time and "doesn't work" another time is an ageless question. Theologians, philosophers and lay preachers have written libraries full of books on the matter.

Christ in the garden, moments before his arrest.
"Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."
Annie is all about "remove this cup" right now. Make Ian better.

I, on the other hand, don't believe God will "remove the cup," so I'm in the "thy will be done" camp at the moment. Not out of any great spiritual faith, mind you. I like to think of myself as a realist, but that's a cop-out. It's just less painful in the end if you always plan for the worst.

People are praying that the surgery will go well, that the doctors will make the right decisions and that Ian will heal properly. I think, "Why stop there? Pray that Ian's Down Syndrome will go away, and while you're at it, pray that all the amputated legs of injured soldiers would grow back!" I mean, if God can heal "small" things like holes in the heart, surely the "big" things are no challenge for Him.

But then I have to stop myself.

Go back to that garden.

It's a choice I make, to pray that prayer. Not some kind of blind faith. No. I will myself to believe it, even when all the circumstances seem to shout otherwise.

The tension is in embracing both parts of the prayer equally.
"Heal my son, Ian, God."

"Do with Ian what you will, God."
Can I live with that?


bella said...

You write profoundly.
I struggle with this, with praying for things like healing. I'm more like you - expect the worse and then try to let go.
I do not know how to pray for others for miracles to occur. I wish for them but when it comes to prayer all I know to do is offer, release.
But maybe just to pray at all, any kind of prayer, is to know we are not alone.

Leah said...

Miracles can come in all different forms. Isn't it a "miracle" that someone has been born with the intelligence, been given the gift of learning, and gone on to develop the skills necessary to open the chest of a child and fix his heart?

Isn't it a miracle that God gave us doctors smart enough to come up with drugs to fix or treat various diseases and disorders?

If our children had been born 50 years ago most of them never would have survived. But God has allowed the progression of modern medicine to HEAL the hearts of children. Healing doesn't have to come from some unexplainable occurrance. Divine intervention can come from the hands of a person who God created for just that person.

A doctor.

And so, when I know a child is going into surgery, pray for those skilled hands of the surgeon, to follow every direction God tells them to go. I pray for steadiness. I pray for their health that day. I pray for hightened sensitivity for every single person in that room for surgery. From the nurses handing instruments to those just acting as runners. The orchestration of open heart surgery, to me, is a true miracle. Who THOUGHT OF THAT???? Some guy that God created.

Kim Ayres said...

As one who lives outside the realm of questioning God's motives, I'm never sure what to write when I read posts to do with faith. However, I did find a post you might find interesting over at Carole's site, Fractured Thoughts, about what she calls "Twitchy Christians". She's the wife of a preacher and the grandmother of a wee girl with DS, and a great writer, which all makes for a very readable combination.

Tom said...

Thanks, Isabel. Glad someone else struggles with this kind of praying. (healing,etc.)

Leah, I deeply appreciate all the prayers of friends and family. I do believe they make some kind of difference, even if I cannot fully see the results. Thanks.

Kim, I always enjoy the places you send me (your previous posts, this link...) Great post over on her blog. Thanks.

Carole said...

When my granddaughter Nebraska was born, I prayed diligently like a good Christian that Nebraska's brain would be healed. (I didn't tell anyone this because I was ashamed) If I believed her heart could heal, I certainly could believe her brain could heal. And then I thought, "Carole you are an insufferable, arrogant, no-good for nothing..." You get the picture. But I realized that in comparison to God's, my brain is sidewalk status. How do I know the things Nebraska thinks are not far more valuable? So feeling slightly bruised and ashamed, I began to accept my granddaughter just as she is and am so glad God still does business with this Sidewalk for Brains.

Tom said...

Carole: Thanks for the great word picture! I thought about what you said as I walked home this afternoon (of course I had to walk on the grass for fear of giving myself a headache or brain damage.)

I'm looking forward to reading more about your grand-daughter Nebraska. Thanks for popping by.