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There’s More Than One Way to Answer a Prayer

Jan Chait

April 1, 2008

There’s a joke—or, perhaps, more of a story—that tells of a person who believed with all his heart that a higher being would rescue him from impending disaster.

The man, as the story goes, sat on his front porch as a flood warning was issued. His neighbor, who was evacuating, offered to give him a ride.

"No," the man said. "I have faith. The Being will save me from the flood."

As the waters rose, the man was forced to climb to the second floor of his house. As he was looking out a second-story window, a boat came by.

“Climb in,” the people in the boat yelled. “This flood is going to get worse!”

“No,” the man said. “I have faith. The Being will save me.”

The waters continued to rise and the man was forced to climb to the roof. A rescue helicopter whirled overhead and a voice yelled: “Grab this rope ladder! We’ll save you!”

“I have faith!” the man yelled back. “The Being will save me!”

The man drowned. Finally, he met the Being.

“Why did you let me drown?” he asked. “I had faith in you and you didn’t save me!”

“I tried,” said the Being. “I send you a car, a boat, and a helicopter.”

Why do I bring this up? Because a little girl died about a week ago of untreated Type 1 diabetes. Apparently, her parents had so much faith that the Being would heal a child whose beta cells had stopped producing insulin that they didn’t take her to a doctor.

According to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the child’s mother “has said the family does not belong to any organized religion or faith but believes in the Bible and that healing comes from God.”

Know what? I believe that, too. I believe that no matter what name you have for your supreme being, that Being created the plants and the molds, the fungi and other things that give us the substances that heal us and, if not that, to allow us to live longer lives. That Being also gave us the curiosity to seek out the things that work, the stamina to test and retest until we get it right, and the knowledge to put that curiosity to use to benefit mankind.

I have never been in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), but I have friends who have not been so fortunate. Luckily, they lived to try and depict the indescribable feeling of their experiences.

Imagine a child, only 11 years old, getting more and more tired. It became difficult for her to breathe to the point where she was gasping for air. Perhaps she felt as if she had the flu, except that, instead of getting better, it kept on getting worse. Perhaps, as her parents were praying and were asking others to pray with them as they watched their young daughter waste away, the child was praying for relief; relief that could have been had with a simple injection.

An injection of a substance discovered, through the G-d-given curiosity, tenaciousness, and knowledge of Frederick Banting and Charles Best. For they had been the answer to the prayers of parents long ago, whose children did not, until their discovery of insulin, have a prayer of a chance of living.



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