Sunday, May 14, 2017

The false narrative

Today I was at church with my parents. After the baby dedication, the pastor prayed over the families. It was a fine prayer until he said something along the lines of "raising kids in a Christian home is the best way to ensure kids grow up healthy". This is when I opened my eyes and tuned out the rest of the prayer. Honestly, this is where I tuned out the rest of the service. This false narrative is exactly why American Christianity can be so out of touch with the world.

No. No. No. This is not how God works. Yes, in a world without struggle and pain and heartache, I wouldn't have cystic fibrosis. But in our current, broken world God uses illness and weakness to prove His strength and power and love. If God wanted to heal me, I have full confidence that He could and that He would. I know there are people who have experienced divine healing. But in many cases, God uses our weaknesses rather than spontaneously healing us. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul says, "But He (the Lord) said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 

Me having cystic fibrosis is not the result of a lack of faith or a lack of praying by me or my parents. It's not because I didn't grow up in a Christian home (because I did grow up in a home that taught me about Jesus' crazy amazing love). My disease progression is not the result of God not listening to me or me not praying hard enough. And the prayer this pastor prayed today said the opposite of all of these things. His prayer, whether intentional or not, put the blame of my poor health on me and my family. And I won't stand for that. Jesus is not that shallow. If he is, what kind of God are we serving? 

Friends, if your health is less than perfect and you've experienced something similar to what I experienced this morning, I am so sorry. This is not what Jesus would say. Jesus would embrace you fully and would comfort you while you experience heartache and pain. He would not sit back and watch, telling you that you should've done X, Y, or Z and all your problems would be fixed. Jesus is pure love. 

I know the prayer today was not meant to offend or to hurt others. I know that he probably spoke without thinking. But regardless, I had to speak out against the false narrative intertwined in his prayer. Good health does not equal God's favor. God uses our illnesses and weaknesses for His good and His glory. I don't know why I have CF, but I know that 1) I am not being punished for anything and 2) I can trust Him in the pain. 


  1. Emily, love your faith and trust in our amazingly good God who loves you so much. I totally agree with your post, but I don't think he meant physical health when he was praying. I think of it as spiritual health. I was not raised in a Christian home and I know I lacked this my entire life. The reason why you LOVE AND TRUST our Father so much is because your parents showed you that love and trust. Love you sweet girl and blessed to know you!!!

    1. Hi Jessica! I know that's not what he actually meant, but my point is a pastor MUST be more careful with his words. For someone who doesn't fully grasp God's grace and truth, that prayer could be very misleading, and pastors are held to a higher standard in God's Word. I know nothing he said was intentionally offensive!