Do You Think You’re Smarter Than God?
by Jessilyn Justice
Miracles strengthen and affirm faith. They allow believers to celebrate God the healer and share His works. But what about when they don’t come? Where is God when loved ones are attacked by cancer, when they’re burned alive in a fiery crash, when a new babe doesn’t make it home from the hospital?
Atheist-turned-apologist Lee Strobel addresses these questions and more in his new book, The Case for Miracles.
“I knew I couldn’t write a book on miracles without dealing with [when miracles don’t happen],” Strobel says. “My wife has fibromyalgia. She’s been in pain every day for 20 years; she will be in pain every day until the rest of her life unless God does a miracle. And the miracle hasn’t happened, so this is a very relevant issue for me and for her.”
Strobel discussed this issue with philosopher and professor Douglas Groothius, whose wife is dying prematurely from dementia. Strobel flat-out asked, “If you were God, would you heal your wife?”
Groothius’ answer shocked him.
“No,” Groothius said. “If I were God, I would have His perspective, I would understand all things that God understands, and I would do the same thing that God is doing right now.”
When healing doesn’t happen, “We think we know better than God. I know better than God,” Strobel tells Charisma News. “I want [my wife] Leslie to be healed right now. And God apparently is not doing it, [so I might be tempted to think] therefore I’m smarter than God, I know better than God. That’s just not true.”
In some cases, Strobel says, believers may turned healing into an idol.
“Healing is never been automatic,” Strobel says. “I think the danger comes in when we make the healing an idol. … We probably don’t say it, but our attitude [says] that God, I will love You if You do what I tell You to do and heal me right now.
“That puts us in a position of being God because now we’re ordering God about, and we’re putting an idol in the way. I think it’s healthier to pray the prayer of relinquishment that Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, you know, ‘Can you take this cup from me? But if not, I want Your will to be done.”
When miracles do happen, though, they sometimes surprise the recipients…