Author: Pastor Nathan Beauchamp (www.greaterchicagochurch.com)
Last Sunday a lovely woman stood on the blue carpeting of our church stage. Nervous, her hands slightly shaky as she clutched her notes against her chest, she waited for the senior pastor to finish introducing her to the congregation. She didn’t need much of an introduction as most of us have known Sharon for years.
Her nervousness obvious, Sharon began to share how doctors had found a lump in her thyroid months earlier. Suspicious of cancer, the doctors ordered a battery of tests, and Sharon had received the news that the lump was suspicious enough to warrant a biopsy. Sharon, knowing that Jesus is the greatest of physicians, asked for and received prayer ministry from our healings teams.
Now, standing in front of the entire congregation, her soft voice gained strength as she read from a doctor’s report. Right before the biopsy was to take place, they had re-checked the location of the lump, only to find that it was completely missing! The Lord had healed her. The audience rose and clapped, thankful for His goodness and mercy.
Not the first testimony of healing shared at our church, the audience readily accepted and believed that Sharon had been touched by the Lord. Not so her doctor. He said that the original test must have been “wrong,” that she never had a lump in the first place. “These things happen,” he said. Sharon tried to explain that it was not a mistake but a testimony. The doctor didn’t want to hear it.
For those of us who love Jesus and know He is the healer, the doctor’s response feels annoying, blind, an intentional disregard for the miraculous. Unfortunately, I’ve found that response to be all too common among medical professionals, non-believers, and even some Christians.
Truth is, many would rather find a ‘logical’ explanation for the miraculous than question their preconceptions. Engaging with a Truth greater than their sense of reality is too uncomfortable. Jesus faced the same level of skepticism, and He walked the earth doing miracles that the vast majority of us have only dreamed of. Paul writes about this phenomenon in 1st Corinthians 1:
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
–1st Corinthians 1:18-19 (NIV)
The cross, and what Jesus paid for on it, appear as foolishness to those perishing. The doctor looking at the place where Sharon’s lump used to exist viewed her faith as foolishness. He believed she was simply a statistical aberration, the one-in-a-thousand testing error.
Frustratingly, all the proof in the world will be insufficient for those who choose skepticism over faith. Even armed with doctors reports demonstrating a ‘before and after,’ the doctor (and certainly many others) will choose to believe that nothing out of the ordinary took place.
I love apologetics, and love shocking folks with stories of God’s love and power. However, changing hearts and expanding faith happen when the Holy Spirit stirs the heart, not when we provide a sufficient burden of proof. No amount of proof will satisfy those who choose not to believe, and by engaging in an argument, we simply help them build their wall of defense higher. The best response to skepticism isn’t proof but prayer. Pray that the person would have the capacity to believe, that their heart would be softened, and that the Holy Spirit would speak to the deep places inside of them so that they might learn the foolishness of skepticism and the saving power of the cross.
Nathan is a pastor at Greater Chicago Church in Oak Park, IL. He is deeply passionate about seeing Jesus’ love made manifest, especially through physical and emotional healing. Pastor Nathan also blogs at www.nmbeauchamp.com.