If you’ve been a follower of this blog for some time, you know that there is one thing my wife and I want to add to our resumes.
Team Matt and Cheri want to be parents.
At least, we want to be parents as much as anyone can want a little person to turn their lives upside-down. We want it enough that we’ve been pursuing parenthood for over eighteen months. But it hasn’t been as easy as following the recipe we learned in junior high.
Through our ordeal, we’ve shared war stories with lots of other wannabe parents. I’ve read countless blogs, and even a couple of books, and have heard plenty of well-meaning wishes from friends.
But one thing has troubled me. I’ve found it in blogs everywhere, even in some books. It’s been a subtle, even inadvertant theme of some well-wishing acquaintances.
The idea is that if I just have faith that God can do something, then He will make it happen. If I simply believe that God can make us parents, then it will be so. Some people believe God will make them rich. Others believe God will make them parents, with just the right amount of faith.
That leaves me wondering. If God can overcome the forces of hell, can’t He overcome my lack of faith?
I Draw the Line at “Natural” Childbirth
Some people are big in faith healing.
I envy those people. I am actually envious of what it must be like to believe something that outlandish, so enthusiastically. Faith healing is a big stumbling block for me.
So it should be no surprise that faith pregnancy is just as big a stumbling block. When I started to read a book (in a long list of books and blogs) called Supernatural Childbirth in which the author reads all these promises God makes about childbearing (from the Old Testament) and then prays for, and gets, everything she wants (including a pain-free birth, on the day and time she desired, not to mention after the doctors told her she could never carry a baby to term), in my head, I cried foul. I wanted to believe it was possible that a miraculous birth could occur based on faith and prayer.
But I could not find it in me to believe it. I actually wondered if the author was just a fraud.
I mean, they didn’t tell us anything about faith causing a pregnancy in sex ed. The charts and diagrams were very specific.
And, for crying out loud, why is God making all these over-fertile teenagers get pregnant? It can’t be because they have faith that God will do it.
Why Does God Need Our Faith?
I have a lot of faith in God’s providence.
I think that God has a plan for humanity, and it will happen, no matter what we do. God is in control. We’re along for the ride.
But the idea of faith pregnancy smacks of manipulating God. If I believe God will do something, then somehow He is obligated to do it? God certainly has to ignore the wrong-headed, idolatrous faith of a lot of people in order to get his job done, right? That bit of theology is so basic, it was covered in Bruce Almighty (when Jim Carrey makes the mistake of answering everyone’s prayers “yes,” and a ton of people subsequently win the lottery.)
Worse than manipulating God, is the idea that God needs me to believe that something will happen before He can act. If God is depending on the faith of humans to make babies, or accomplish anything else He wants to get done, God’s going to be waiting around a long time.
Isn’t God Supposed to Be the Grown-Up?
What if I don’t even have the faith to believe that faith can make God move? Maybe faith can move mountains, but can faith move God?
Sure, I read in the Bible that Jesus said to people, “Your faith has made you well.”
But it just doesn’t connect with me. If we’re relying on my faith to get anything done, I’m screwed. Isn’t God supposed to be the grown-up here? Isn’t He supposed to do what needs to get done, despite what we think?
And finally the biggest question: Isn’t this just another form of works righteousness? That tricky little habit keeps slipping in, doesn’t it? Isn’t trying to have enough faith just another way of trying to be good enough so God will give me what I want?
What do you think? Does the secret to getting well or getting pregnant really lie in my own belief? Or have we made faith into a placebo effect in everything we want to do?