Genesis 1:31a concludes that “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.” Since I became aware of this statement in the creation story it has not stopped bothering me knowing full well that my life experiences beginning with my birth and upbringing in Africa to my current life as a pastor in the United States don’t necessarily concur. I can recount situation after situation where I have wrestled with this statement. On one hand I believe that God’s word is true and authoritative for faith and life, but on the other hand my life experience stands in conflict with it. Having been born in a Christian home in Kenya (East Africa), my view of the world was clearly shaped by what my parents believed.
Among such beliefs was that God is the greatest healer. As a result of that belief, I grew up with a view that although the witch doctors were considered powerful, they had no power over me although I had to constantly pray for God’s protection fearing an attack from the witches and people who would mean ill for me and my family. But when my two younger sisters suffered from epilepsy as babies and one of them has been severely affected by the disease and at 18yrs she still doesn’t speak coherently or take care of her basic needs including bathing herself. I have watched my sister in this condition all her life and my mom give all she has to care for her basic needs. Through all, I have always had a deep conviction that God will heal her. When I was in high school ( boys boarding school),I fasted and prayed for long days for a miracle for them. However until today, my sisters struggle with their health and so are my parents and the entire family leave alone losing my other sister in childbirth last month.
In the village where I grew up people hardly get any medical attention because there simply are no medical facilities and even if there were, most people would not afford treatments. In such a context, the supernatural plays a major role and hence the great power of village healers and the witch doctors. This background more readily inclined me towards understanding God as the greatest healer although having constantly prayed for over 28 years our family continue to live with a clear evidence of the power of sickness while still holding strongly that God is the greatest healer.This is a conundrum that I continue to live with and at times made worse when some people occasionally chide my parents that their faith in God has not yielded much and that my sisters’ conditions perhaps results from their sin or unrighteous living.
Out of this internal struggle is emerging what I am considering an enlightenment which affirms that God is the greatest healer and that he has power over sickness and death. I know this as I look at Jesus’ ministry and ultimately at his glorious resurrection from the dead. I will now examine the scriptural witness as I continue to grow in my understanding of this faith conundrum in my subsequent posts.