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Pray too late

I can’t make myself pray for people who have put themselves in a hole. They say “I need a miracle to help me get out of here”, and I say “What is the point?” You didn’t fall in. You climbed in, knowingly, for a decade.

It isn’t an accident that they have lung cancer or clogged arteries. Smoking cigarettes and eating poorly and refusing to exercise are choices. They chose to get sick, one bad decision at a time, over and over. So why pray for healing?

I know a guy who was slated to have heart surgery to clear up a blockage. They had to stop the procedure when they realized that the 30% blockage was really a 90% blockage. They’ll try again later. I’ve gotten emails and private messages asking me (and hundreds of others) to pray for him. The problem is, he weighs over 300 pounds. He put himself in this situation. Why pray? Why ask for divine intervention?

When my Mom got lung cancer after smoking two packs of cigarettes a day for 20 years, she was surprised. No amount of praying was going to undo that damage. No miracle was going to happen. When we came back from the doctor’s after finding out the diagnosis, she asked me if she could smoke. She’d thrown out her cigarettes when we were going to the doctors. She had an idea what was going to happen. The cigarettes were still in the house – but in the trash can. I told her that I would refuse to help her get better if she continued to smoke. Why waste my time?

There were plenty of people who would stand outside the cancer doctor’s office and smoke a cigarette before getting their treatment. What a waste. What stupidity.

I remember reading about how money is tight in England, and with the state-funded medical insurance program, they have to be very mindful about their resources. An overweight, elderly smoker who needs a heart transplant is likely to get passed over in favor of the younger person who doesn’t smoke. They take the time and money and spend it on someone who is likely to get some use out it. Why waste resources on someone who is going to waste it? I remember Americans being all up in arms about this. “Dignity of human life” and “How dare they” and “That isn’t fair” and all that, they said. Nonsense. Why put forth the effort when the person isn’t putting forth the effort?

Why pray for the person to be healed when they aren’t doing anything for themselves? Too late. The horse has already left the barn.

I really don’t feel I have the right words for this. I’ve thought about this for years, and I still don’t know exactly how to say it. I’m so frustrated with people waiting to the last minute and doing all the wrong things for their health and then being surprised that they have a chronic disease. Are we so blind as a nation, as human beings, that we think we can get by without paying the consequences? Are we so stupid that we think we should reap when we didn’t sow? Why do we think we are entitled to health when we refuse to create it? Good health isn’t an accident. Will power isn’t for the few. So many people are unwilling to work for their health, and then expect everybody else to feel sorry for them.

Maybe that is the problem. Passive lives all around. We don’t think about how we have to do things for ourselves. We blame others for our own failures. We blame our parents, our genes, our teachers for our own failures. We don’t have someone putting good food in front of us as adults – we have to provide it. Like children, we delight in treating ourselves with snacks and desserts. We pleasure ourselves every day with things that are bad for us, refusing to even try real food. We get a perverse pleasure out of not exercising, saying “you can’t tell me what to do.” We are children, not adults. We are killing ourselves with our childish behavior too.

No prayers. No miracles. We can’t wait for a savior. We have to save ourselves.

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