Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Priesthood Blessing and Rationalism

I think my face looks a little bit better today, but maybe it's just because I've stopped wailing and crying over it so much. Amazing how the puffiness tends to go down when that happens! I can't notice any movement or improvement, though.

I found that it is WAY easier to torture myself and punish my body than it is to merely rest. Today I spent quite a while in the pool perfecting my flip turn. I swam a nice slow mile yesterday and today, and figured out how to flip with a mouth full of water. Since my mouth won't form a seal,
I have to hold the water in until I surface, and then blow it out before I breathe. I am trying not to strain myself, but it's so HARD to just WAIT and do NOTHING about this. At least I can get a little exercise, and try to resume some normal activities despite my affliction.

Yesterday I had a priesthood blessing. It was very nice. But -- dare I admit I was disappointed? It seems like there are never any blessings of actual healing any more. They don't bless you, they bless your doctor, or they say some nice kind things about how your body will be strengthened. This has caused me to do some reflection about the gift of healing. I wonder why healing is even mentioned in the scriptures at all. I think it would be easier to bear if there were more scriptures about how it is God's will that we suffer due to mortality; that we should learn from our ailments and illnesses and that these trials will perfect us. Why even mention the possibility that if there are any sick among you, they can call for the elders and be anointed and be healed? This healing seems to happen so randomly and erratically, one scarcely knows if it was really by the power of God or just a chance happenstance.

Then there is the business of my faith. During the blessing, I opened my heart up to believe that I would instantly see an improvement, that discernable healing would take place. I hoped with all my soul. But now two days have passed and nothing. I've tried to increase my faith for 31 years to no avail. I just can't put myself into the magic world view. Is it my fault that I have grown up in an age of rationalism? Will I ever be able to transcend this way of thinking?


J G-W said...

This is hard stuff... My blood used to boil at the implication that lack of miraculous healing = lack of faith.

I think the Lord does test our faith in just the way that it needs to be tested, and for each individual that might be different.

I witnessed/participated in a miraculous healing not too long ago. My sister -- who is an alcoholic -- had seriously injured herself one night while she was drunk. The result of the injury was serious nerve damage in her arm that left her arm limp and lifeless. She worked in a factory on an assembly line, and the injury meant she couldn't work. After 6 months, the doctors told her that it was likely she'd never regain much more than the ability to twitch her fingers a bit.

The whole family gathered, to be present as my sister received a priesthood blessing. My parents planned the blessing around one of my trips to Utah so I could be there and participate. We all fasted and prayed. My father and my brother Mark administered the blessing. I couldn't -- of course -- lay my hands on her head, but I did fast and pray with everyone else.

Within a few short weeks of the blessing, my sister had regained the full use of her arm. Later my sister confided in me that she felt it was my prayers, as much as the blessing itself, that had played a role in her healing. This was such an intimate, emotional, powerful thing. I had this sense -- I know this is both strange and terrible to say -- that it was almost as if the injury and the healing both had been designed to teach us about the importance of pulling together as a family, the importance of all of us -- every one! -- rallying around my sister. I wonder if she could have been healed until we had all come together in that spirit of humility in one place, physically surrounding her with our love.

I know some folks will want to explain this away as coincidence, or whatever (i.e., her arm was about to get better on its own, etc.).

The profoundest miracle (and this was the point of my last post) is faith itself; this ability to come unto Christ with purity of heart. All the other miracles flow from that.

I'm praying for you for that, and for you to find the faith to ask for what you need.

Michael Carpenter said...

I was thinking the other day that miracles recorded in the New Testament include Jesus spitting in the dirt, making mud and applying it to the eyes of the blind man.

Today, the miracles are that the doctor was able to perform a surgery or prescribe the right medicine and that doesn't seem as miraculous as spitting in the dirt.

And, if healing by faith really happens, then why does God hate amputees? There is no recorded instance of an amputee having the limb restored. So, are amputees lacking in faith or is that a miracle of healing that cannot happen (for whatever reason)?

ldsanarchy said...

There is no recorded instance of an amputee having the limb restored.

Sure there is. John 7: 6 - a circumcised man (the foreskin having been amputated) being restored to intact. Also Luke 22: 50-51, an amputated ear being restored.

But perhaps you were referring to modern instances.

LDS Anarchist

Justin said...

LDSA, were you referring to John 5:6? John 7:23 also connects to the healing you were alluding to.

ldsanarchy said...

Yeah, Justin, John 7: 23 was the one. I just went to the circumcision post and lifted the John 7: 6 reference off of it, without consulting the scriptures. That post had a typo in it, unbeknown to me, until you pointed out the error in your comment. So, I've now corrected it. Thanks.