Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind. – Albert Einstein
A few weeks ago, I underwent open heart surgery to replace my pulmonary valve. As a part of the protocol, I also went through four other cardiac procedures that were all designed to diagnose and correct various issues in my heart. I am also the owner of a Defibrillator, which was installed in my chest and will restart my heart should it stop for some reason.
This is not my first encounter with the marvels of medical science. I was born with a faulty valve in 1967 and because of a legendary doctor named Denton Cooley, I survived when most other children did not. In fact, there were five other children who had surgery on the same day as me. A girl from Romania and myself were the only survivors. At the time, Cooley’s approach to surgery on children was considered bold and brilliant.
I am a pastor of a church that most would call conservative and evangelical. We certainly place a high value on the Holy Scriptures, we pray for miracles, and we trust that God is in control of our lives. I also believe in the power of Science. Not because Science somehow trumps the sovereignty of the Almighty, but because, I believe science is the created expression of the God I follow.
When I realized surgery was inevitable, my first response was to pray. I told friends, my family and then I told my church family. Our first response was to pray. Then, I began to look for the best possible surgeons, cardiologists and hospitals. I ended up at a hospital that is considered the best in my state, my surgeon has over 30 years experience with my type of operation and my cardiologist is double board certified and uniquely qualified to care for my particular case.
I never once thought that embracing medical science was somehow denying my faith. I actually believed my faith was leading me into into good science.
On the morning of the surgery, my family gathered around my bed, prayed for me and then left for the waiting room. I never felt a moment of panic and fear. I was at peace because I knew my prayers had led me to the best care possible. My ultimate trust was not in the people wearing hospital scrubs, but in the God who had given them unique minds to understand and implement medical science.
I don’t remember talking with the hospital staff about church or theology before the surgery and I don’t think any of them knew I was a pastor. Afterwards, some of the local media reported on my surgery and then a few of them shared their faith with me. They all believed that God had led them into their field, so they could help people.
I realize there are some Christians who will judge me as someone with little faith. I will lose no sleep. These are the same people who drive across bridges without giving one thought to the miracle of engineering that is required for such convenience. They will also get on an airplane without any understanding of how a machine weighing many tons can lift off the ground.
We cannot admire some fields of science, while demonizing others. All of it is a gift from a creative God who formed each of us in the womb of our mother with special abilities. Science is not a replacement of God, but an expression of his complex and compassionate nature.
Could God completely heal my body, preventing me from a 6-week ordeal of surgery and recovery? Yes. There is plenty of documented evidence of God breaking into our fragmented bodies and restoring the broken places.
God also uses His own creations to bring healing to people. He uses technology, medicines, and the marvels of the human mind to bring Him the glory he deserves. He is the God of science, not the servant of science.
I am on the way to a full recovery. Looking back, I am thankful that God led me into the care of some great medical professionals. I am also thankful that God was with me every step of the way. I trust the wisdom of the prophet Isaiah who also saw God at work, even among those we call wise.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.