Thursday, August 10, 2006

Why Won't God Heal Amputees?

I found this website (click for link) as I was searching for some information for a friend who is an amputee. It's written in book form with extensive analysis of reasons and logical explanations supporting the "fact" that God is imaginary. One argument made is that there never were any healings by Christ of amputees and never have been any healing of amputees.

The author posits that we would be better off in a more rational world.

My immediate response to this, being a person with a disability, was to feel used. This increased as I read on that the author used my condition, spinal cord injury, as yet another example of someone whom God would never heal.

That is simply not true.

I have been healed. I do not walk. My hands, wrists and legs remain paralyzed. But, make no mistake about it, I have been healed.

And that healing has come from God.

If these words make no sense to those of a secular bent, that is fine by me. I am willing to be called a fool in God's name. But read on, because I can explain what I mean in much less space than a book.

It is quite simple: I asked for healing from God. I prayed at Mass every week for healing with a great sense of assurance that God could, if He would, heal me. I remained open minded about how that healing would occur.

And I have been healed.

I am content in my circumstances most of the time. . I, like any other human being, am in a process of finding my way to a full life. Being human, I have bad days, but those are not necessarily related to being a quadriplegic.

If any of you out there don't have bad days, please email me. That surely is another miracle that is on the list of ones God has not performed yet!

My point is that healing does not necessarily mean that a limb will be regenerated. It is a narrow and ableist point of view to take that people with disabilities can only be healed if their disability is removed. How arrogant to assume that we are all miserable because we are disabled. Many people with disabilities, including myself, take offense at that assumption.

What I do know, because I live with a disability, is that the healing I required to move on with my life was spiritual. I took on the assumptions of society that I could not live a full and productive life. I let myself be "psyched out" and became negative and angry. I dug myself into a deep hole of self pity and self loathing.

It was from that pit that I needed rescuing. God did that. That was my healing.


I was led to meet other people with the same disability who modeled a way to lead a productive and full life. I was provided with all the resources I need to make that life happen. I was given the opportunities to do so and the willingness to do the work involved. I have received all I need.

I do not need to have my spinal cord fixed in order to live in a way that fulfills God's will. If I was to claim that, I would be no better than a malingerer.

We can sit around and wait to see if amputees will regrow limbs or we can take the approach of seeing ourselves as spiritual beings. If we choose the latter, we can be victors, not victims.


Anonymous said...

You're right. It's the lack of accessibility that bums me out. It's the way I get treated by people sometimes that saddens me. It's the discrimination . The thing is that what people see is the wheelchair so if I look unhappy they don't know that it's because I can't find an apartment because landlords are afraid to rent to me. They think it's because I can't walk.

Anonymous said...

The need for social justice. Right there.


Anonymous said...

I'll keep you in my prayers, goldie. You'll find a landlord who will rent to you and an accessible place. I emailed you some leads I found at my job.

Dream Mom said...

That was a beautiful post. I agree that some people assume that lives are miserable if you are disabled.

I agree with the other poster-lack of accessibility is a huge issue.

We need things to be easier for all of us when we or our children have a disability. It doesn't mean we don't have a life or shouldn't live. For example, the other day, I wrote a post called the Ant Bully and discussed an issue we had with my son because there wasn't a place to change him. One poster suggested we just stay home and rent a movie instead. I said we like to get out like anyone else. These are the things we need to talk about as a society to make progress.

Ruth said...

Thx,these are great comments!

DreamMom, you described the situation so well.

Anonymous said...

You are entirely correct!

My condition has only worsened over time, and as a youngster I felt bitter that Jesus healed so many other people but not me. But I live a more full and productive life today than I ever would have as a walkie. God has used the crucible of disability to bring out potential in me that would have otherwise never come to fruition.

Anonymous said...

This post and thread reminds me of one of my most significant transcendent experiences with healing.

I was attending Mass at a Benedictine retreat center and when I heard everyone (and myself) reciting, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed" I *also* heard that Small Still Voice saying, "You *are* healed. You just don't know it."

From that time forward I realized there's a distinction between being "cured" and being "healed."

I trust God's healing love to sustain me even if I'm not cured of whatever ails me physically.

Anonymous said...

Great post Ruth. I learned of your blog via Amy Welborn. I only wish I'd read your words of wisdom about 14 months ago. While visiting Williamsburg, Virginia I was stopped on the street by a guy (apparently a Pentecostal or Charismatic of some stripe) who went on and on about how God could cure me of my disability. At one point he made the comment to the effect that I ought to go for it because, and I quote, "you don't have anything better to do". Talk about an ableist attitude! I really wish in hindsight that I had strongly rebuked him for that line.

Ruth said...

Hi Edward,
So glad you stopped by! I actually had a woman tell me once that I was being punished for my sins - in public ! It wasn't easy for me to deal with because my disability was new to me....don't you love that line "you don't have anything better to do?" LOL ableist - yes!

Anonymous said...

This questions is amusing in the sense that it:

1) Admits God is real.
2) Alludes to the fact that God is healing other types of malady.

All should duly note that the power to regenerate limbs is available to certain others creatures like: Salamanders. So we know it is physically possible, without divine intervention.

We have no particular reason to doubt that God HAS healed amputees in the past, as you pointed out yourself. Why hasn't God made "the sun stand still" again? Why hasn't God parted the Red Sea a couple more times? (-Alexander the Great reported it parted for him also.)

These are huge, epic, miracles reserved (mostly) for a future age. If they happened commonly, faith would have no value to Him. Humanity is called into the next age principally by faith, not principally by sight.

Furthermore, when God heals cancer, our free will to believe in Him or not, is still intact. If God outright healed an amputee, our freewill to disbelieve would be effectively robbed of us. Perhaps, in turn, God would be obligated by his Adversary to allow equally visible & evil miracles to be unleashed? Are you willing to make that trade? -I wouldn't rule this event out altogether, just because it hasn't been widely documented yet.

Bottom line: It happens in nature, so no need for all the hype in the atheist community. Also, Christ anticipated this "devils advocate" question 2000-years ago:

"If thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell..."

Anonymous said...

I have seen the healing of people I know with my own and I know God does heal people but I must admit that 'why doesn't God heal amputees?' question has bothered and stumped me. Gazingstock, your comment is excellent and I have been truly inspired by some of the other comments posted here. I can't help thinking of Abraham's answer to the rich man in Luke 16:19-31 as well. God bless,

Damian said...

The purpose, I believe, of the amputee example wasn't to make you "feel used". It was to show how people will claim that god performs miracles only when the conditions are ambiguous.

An amputee growing a limb back would (in most people's opinion) be a simple matter for a god who created the universe but, for some reason, he never seems to want to go for the unambiguous miracles.

He seems far more intent on appearing on tortillas or in helping people find their keys.

cdchurch said...

The issue is that accrding to the Bible Jesus did in fact heal people with physical problems. The lame walked, the blind people started seeing, the dead returned. These kinds of healings have never happened outside the Bible, in spite of Jesus promise that you would be given whatever you ask for.

Anonymous said...

God will physically heal amputees. It will happen! We are coming to the last days in which He is going to reveal his glory more and more. I have heard of someone who had the end of their pinky grow back, but I am believing for even greater miracles than that.
And as for God only going for ambiguous miracles, I do not think that is always the case. When Lazarus was raised from the dead, was that ambiguous? No, he had been dead three days and there was already a stench! Personally, God healed my jaw. My upper and lower jaw used to not come together properly, but I asked the Lord for proper alignment, and He grew my lower jaw out one night! I am not kidding you; I am telling the truth. Sometimes the Lord does not heal us right away, but He is willing. Keep seeking the Lord.