BLESS THE MEANS
T. PIERCE BROWN
How often have you heard one praying for a sick person say something like this: “Bless the hands that wait on them, and the means being used for their recovery” but somehow seemed unwilling to say, “Cure their disease.” Of course, with my aversion to the claims of so-called “faith-healers” who give glowing testimonies of how they know of someone who was cured of almost anything they could imagine, I can understand our skirting around anything that might make us sound somewhat unorthodox.
But having long since passed the point where merely “sounding orthodox” unduly concerns me, I would like to suggest that we pray for the things about which we are concerned. I DO thank God for the “hands that minister,” but ordinarily I am not REALLY as concerned about them at that moment as I am with the particular person to whom they are ministering. So why not say so? I am not nearly as concerned with God blessing the knife that does the surgery (whatever that means) as I am with His blessing the person who is having the tumor removed.
It is also slightly disturbing for me to continue hearing persons say, “Forgive us of our many mistakes and shortcomings,” without ever mentioning “our sins.” God can OVERLOOK our mistakes, but our SINS have to be forgiven through the merits of the blood of our loving Lord, or we are lost forever!
Surely, when we say, in reference to a sick person, “Nevertheless, thy will be done,” we are trying to echo the sentiments of our Savior. But is it possible that what we ACTUALLY mean is, “I do not REALLY believe you are going to answer affirmatively, so I will give you a chance to cop-out on my doubts”? Since I use the expression, “Thy will be done” and commend the attitude, the above critical question is probably a result of a recognition of my own failures and shortcomings!
I still remember one of my prayers (?) of almost 60 years ago. I had been reading the promises of Jesus about granting whatever was asked in faith, so when I came to a gate as I was walking through the woods to a little one-room school house with my lunch pail in one hand and my books in another, I said, “God, open the gate for me.” For some reason He did not see fit to do it. Since He did not seem to hear, I raised my voice a little and said again, “God, I said I wanted you to open the gate for me.” When it still did not open, I said, “I did not think you would do it anyway.”
It is possible that I have done the same sort of thing in my more mature years if I have prayed, “Bless the means being used for his recovery,” and when he died anyway, said, “I never did have any hope for him.” Perhaps all of us, critics or otherwise, need to pray as did the man in Mark9:24, “I believe. Help thou mine unbelief!”
As I was finishing this article, I thought, “Lord, bless the editor’s pen (or blue pencil) that they may be used only in a way to glorify thee.” And then I thought, “And Lord, if you can see your way clear to do it, you might bless the editor, too.”