Holding out for a Miracle

I was watching some TV show in which one of the characters, the villain, stated that Americans spend over 20% of Medicare costs (almost half a trillion dollars) on the last month of a patient’s life.  The actual figure seems to be 24%.  With technology, we are becoming experts in prolonging the inevitable.  One thing has been clear since the beginning of time.  We all will die.  In the same TV show, the prisoner proclaimed, “Americans believe in miracles!”  It was a horrible line but also raises an interesting point.  For now, we’ll ignore the philosophical and financial question of whether or not we should spend over a 100 billion dollars annually just to extend someone’s life by one month, especially considering where that 100 billion dollars could be better utilized.  There are enough debates on that.

My point is whether or not God needs us to extend life in order to work His miracles.  I presume that the miracle refers to some deity intervening on the patients behalf to defy nature and heal.  If we truly believe in God’s ability to heal, is it a part of that belief that we need to literally “buy time” for God to heal.  In the Christian world, God can heal in an instant.  People were healed simply by having enough faith to touch his robe.  He can raise the dead (3 days dead).  In my  opinion, God doesn’t need us to give him more time.

If it’s not for the sake of giving God time, then why do we extend life unnecessarily, at such a huge cost, and sometimes even at the anguish of the patient?  One possibility is that maybe we are hoping that God will change his mind.  I doubt this is the case because God’s will is unchanging.  And again, if God could heal in an instant, he can change his mind in an instant.  After all, a day is like a thousand years for him.

The most likely reason is that we just don’t want to let go or we don’t want to resign ourselves to God’s will for the patient.  Since God hasn’t worked the miracle yet, maybe he is planning on allowing the patient to die.  If that is true, in fact, we are then defying God.  Would God ever work a miracle when we are in defiance of him?

The more I think about the examples in the Bible.  We see such examples as Abraham and Jephthah.  In Jephthah’s case, God allowed the sacrifice.  In Abraham’s case, God waited until the very last minute, the minute that Abraham was most fully committed to sacrificing his son, before saving him.  In either case, the parent just allowed God’s will to unfold.  Abraham didn’t sit on the mountain waiting for God to change his mind.  He would have slit Isaac’s throat if God had not prevented it.  Life support for the purposes of just prolonging life for just a few days allows us to defy God or at least think that we are defying God.  Only if we put our complete faith in God and His Will, is it possible for miracles to happen.

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