This Friday I want to talk about walking on water and other miracles in the Bible. Today I want to talk about praying for cancer and why some people are healed.
There are two quick things that I want say before we get into it. First, when we talk about healing, most of the time we start in the Bible and then transfer what we think about it forward to today.  I want to do the opposite. I want to start with how people are healed today and then go back and see if that may have been what was going on in the Bible. 
Second, since I came out last week that I do not believe in the supernatural I wanted to thank everyone who commented on this blog, facebook, and email. I really appreciate all the thoughtful responses. 
I don’t believe in the supernatural – but I do believe in prayer for healing.

People who were taught the supernatural view may hear that and think “that doesn’t make sense” or “that is contradictory”. This only exposes how little we have thought about all of this and how lazy our thinking can get when we think we have it all figured out. It has never dawned on some of us that there may be another way to think about spiritual and physical healing than the ‘super’ natural explanation. 

I would like to put forward an alternative explanation for your consideration:
Cancer is when cells of the body become disconnected from the function and purposes of rest of the body. They are separated from the story or narrative design of the body. Once disconnected, or out of line with the body, they actually begin to turn against the body and attack the body – multiplying at an unhealthy rate and ultimately eating the cells and organs of it’s host body. Cancer cells are separated from the purpose and story of the body that gives them life and begin to work against the body that gives them life. 
When we pray for someone who has cancer and they are ‘healed’, what do we think happened? I think that what happened is that we as a community surrounded them with our bodies (cells) and spirits (partnership with God) in order to make a place of openness for a “God who is at work among us” to reconnect those cells to the story (and purpose) of the body and bring them back in line to work with the body in a healthy way. 
What I don’t think happened is that a transcendent God reached through the veil of existence and magically touch only this person to take out the bad cells. 
I really do believe that God is here at work among us all the time and when we open up and participate with God’s will and purpose that it is possible that misaligned cells that are disconnected from body’s story can come back into alignment and participate with the body instead of against it. 
Doctors call it remission. We call it a miracle. It is natural and beautiful. What it is not is “super” natural. 
It is not dependent on praying hard enough, praying good enough, being good enough people to pray for this, etc.  It isn’t about looking for unbelief, or unconfessed sin, or some other flaw in the sick person or the pray-ers. It isn’t about a God who is “in control” or that “everything happens for a reason” or that everything will make sense in Heaven (after we die), or that God is sovereign and chooses who lives and who dies. 
I still believe in healing. But I now think that it happens for a different reason than I used to. I don’t believe in the supernatural.  I do believe that prayer is powerful and that sometimes people are healed from cancer. God has given us medicine which can be powerful. God has given us a community that prays and that can be powerful.  God has given us the presence of God’s Spirit who is at work among us. Being open to this can be very powerful. 

Let me know what you think… I am very interested in having a conversation about all of this.