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.
June 25, 2011 at 9:37 am
As a Christian therapist and life coach whom God has led into integrating sound theology with good science (psych) to brIng deep, long-lasting healing to broken people, I say, “YES!”
June 25, 2011 at 9:50 am
Some thought I was crazy in 2004 when I opted for a partial mastectomy rather than waiting for a miracle. I knew within my heart of hearts that this was HOW God wanted to heal the cancer I had. I never once questioned my faith in God during that time, I trusted that God used science to heal me.
Thank you for being a man of FAITH and for being realistic that while God can and does perform miracles today, science can also used to glorify Him!
June 25, 2011 at 10:10 am
Thank you for this! I appreciate your faith so much!!
June 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm
Science is the creative expression of the God we follow… excellent! And that bridge/airplane analogy is perfect.
June 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm
Having used the miracle of dialysis for more than 18 years to stay alive, I have no doubt that God has inspired all the medical innovations that we use today. Besides, really, do you honestly believe that the devil who hates us so much would provide us with the medicine we have today? And we all know, it’s either him or God. I vote for God, our Loving Father!..not that disgusting thing that wants only to destroy us.
June 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm
Amen! I truly believe that God through a series of miracles saved my son. He went through some serious medical procedures. The finding of his disease and the doctors He put in our path were so improbable that only God could have done it! The prayer covering we had made all the difference in the outcome. Even the doctors were amazed at how well he did. These doctors, the amazing drugs and our praying friends were His blessings to us. I believe He ordained every step. God is with us.
June 26, 2011 at 8:59 pm
Thank you for your faithful and intelligent post about Science. As I have prayed about pursuing advanced degrees and certifications in speech pathology and special education, the Lord has consistently reminded me that worldly credentials allow Him to use me to serve people. And so I have worked to do so. My knowledge is from textbooks, professors & experienced clinicians, the wisdom to apply it comes from above. My greatest joy is to be part of someone else’s miracle!
June 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm
Dear Pastor Brady, Ive just recently found out about u and your church, I was listening to Mr Hancock, u, and the focus on the family guy and really all the rest, what a blessing it was. My oldest son who is in youth ministry listened to Mr Hancock, rewound it and listened again, called me to say it had changed his life and his whole way of thinking about God, Jesus and finding God’s purpose for ones life. Who knows why Almighty God let u go through all this with your heart, when it would have been so easy just to touch your heart and give u a brand new one. Maybe u wouldnt have had these guys come to your church and preach if u hadn’t had the surgery. Who knows? I have never met u, never even heard of u, but after listening to your story, I know u love God and He is using u to fulfill His plan on earth. He said, I will never leave u. That’s all we need to know. Right? Don’t you ever give up..God will never leave u!! Heard Pastor Loran Livingston say this past Sunday in his internet broadcast from Charlotte, NC, that God loves it when we run to Him and we can’t even put our troubles and worries into words….sometimes we just grunt….”oh” is all we can say. God loves those kinds of prayers, thats when we r talkin to Him from our heart. So, I’m prayin for u and your family and New Life Church. My youngest son wants us to visit your church this summer. Prayin bout that. God bless. thank u for your time.
June 29, 2011 at 5:18 am
Thank you for this post. In 1994 I was diagnosed with MS and told that I would soon be unable to walk. 5 months later I was wheelchair bound. 4 years later after doing physical therapy and taking prescriptions, I was able to walk again. Now my brain has no lesions, and I have no effects. (google MS, it is not curable, and the brain cannot heal itself). I was in the ministry at the time and people would even tell me I must be doing something wrong to have the disease, and why didn’t I just believe God for a healing. Well, I did believe God for the healing. But I also sought out treatments by licensed professionals whom I feel God gave His wisdom to. I was eventually healed, and I believe that it is because I followed what God wanted, believed in the impossible, but I DID MY PART TOO. People forget that part of faith. We STILL HAVE TO DO OUR PART. I have learned to keep pressing onward. And I hope you will also!
July 10, 2011 at 6:52 am
Pastor Brady, Thank you for this post. It is so good. I was in Cambodia when you originally posted it, and I just “happened” to find it this morning. I love how God gives us words when we need them! – My Dad is getting ready to have a quadruple bypass tomorrow morning and although I’d love for God to come and miraculously heal his body without the surgery, we have been peaceful about the surgery itself and trusting God to use the surgeons and nurses to minister and care for my Dad during this time. Mark and I have been praying for you and are looking forward to having you back. Love to you and Pam!
July 12, 2011 at 8:44 am
Pastor Brady, Thanks for your blog, My 15 year old daughter had major hip surgery in November of 2010. The Pastor of our church kept telling us he was believing for a miracle for her. I think he was meaning that God would restore her hip. Well God did restore her hip through a gifted surgeon who surprised us all by asking if he could pray before she went back for surgery. She has had a remarkable recovery. I do believe God uses science for miracles. I am not a member of Newlife Church, but I have been listening to your podcast since Jan. 2009.
January 31, 2012 at 8:51 am
The true value of a human being can be found in degrees to which he has attained liberation from the self.