I want to be able to say that I’m never stumped, that I have the perfect answer for every question. Except, I don’t.
Sometimes the right answer is the wrong answer. It’s correct, but it isn’t what is needed. Twice in the last month or so in a group, I’ve been asked, or heard another leader be asked, a question.
The first time, I had a good answer on how to fix this situation. I’m a guy, after all. The one that was asked answered it better, pastorally, and focused on protecting the questioner’s heart.
Ravi Zacharias teaches his team not to answer the question, but the questioner. There’s a why to the question.
The question I got was, “If all our days are numbered, then why bother praying for healing?”
There were two answers here. A pastoral one, which was addressed. And a theological one, which I very carefully answered.
One of the rules is not to debate theology in small group. It takes away time from others.
My answer, a little more fleshed out now that I had time to think, is addressed in the movie In Time? In it, you have a counter on your arm that’s running down, and when it hits zero…you drop dead.
I could go in-depth on the movie, but that would muddy the waters. The point is, you have a countdown.
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”
Psalm 139:16 ESV
We don’t know where that countdown sits at. Only God does. When we pray for healing, there could be a lot of time left. There could be little. We don’t know.
The fact He knew we were going to pray for this is factored in the plan.
As to why we should ask, I didn’t say this, because I didn’t think of it at the moment, being on the spot and all.
In C.S Lewis’s Narnia series, The Magician’s Nephew, he has a character named Aslan. It’s his analog for Jesus.
There’s a scene in it where one of the human characters is hungry and hanging out with talking horses.
“But we can’t eat grass,” said Digory.
“H’m, h’m,” said Fledge, speaking with his mouth full. “Well—h’ m—don’t know quite what you’ll do then. Very good grass too.”
Polly and Digory stared at one another in dismay.
“Well, I do think someone might have arranged about our meals,” said Digory. “I’m sure Aslan would have, if you’d asked him,” said Fledge.
“Wouldn’t he know without being asked?” said Polly.
“I’ve no doubt he would,” said the Horse (still with his mouth full). “But I’ve a sort of idea he likes to be asked.”
That’s always stuck with me. If we get everything without asking, in general, we become entitled.
To ask, we acknowledge that God is God, and not our genie in the sky. We add to our relationship with God. For Christians, God isn’t just a Sovereign King, He’s also our Father.
He knows how your story will go. He knows it will end with you going to Him.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
The good, the bad, working together for good. We don’t see it at that moment. There’s a reason hindsight is 20/20.