You Come or You Go

Dana Hibbard’s brain exploded. That’s crude, but I don’t know another way to explain it. Her family was going on vacation and they were in the Boise airport, and her brain just exploded. She fell to the ground unconscious. They took her to the hospital and the doctors said she was going to die. You can’t really live with an exploded brain.

I was pretty little at the time. I didn’t know the Hibbards that well. They were just people from church. I’m not sure why, but for some reason it affect everyone in the church. Maybe it was because it was so sudden or so brutal. But everyone gathered together in a really profound way.

Night after night, people would gather in this little conference room at the hospital to pray. If you’ve ever experienced an old-time prayer meeting, that’s what it was like. This was a pro-active measure. Normal waiting rooms are quiet and tense. This was loud. There was singing, shouting and wailing, which is a lot for a bunch of white Nazarenes.

And you know what? It worked. Against all odds (and against everything the doctors said), Dana got better. Her brains fixed themselves. Her personality came out intact. She had a tough time remembering things for a while, but that went away with time.

It was a triumph. The people of the church felt revived. Phrases like “If God is for use, who can be against us?” and “We are more than conquerors,” ran through the collective conciousness of the congregation. But to be honest, the whole situation really confused me.

I guess it just felt really unfair. Instead of getting swept up by the emotions of the moment, all I could think about was the floors and floors of people who didn’t have entire churches desperately praying for them. In my little brain praying = healing, and I couldn’t understand how all those other people were supposed to get better.

Frankly this whole event still confuses me. When Dana got better, everyone attributed it to the praying, but is that a fallacy? How do you know she wouldn’t have made it with out the prayer? And if it was the prayer, why her at that moment and why not other people at other times? And why don’t we always pray with that kind of fervor? If praying like that really works, even if it only worked once in a while, shouldn’t we at least try every time in the off-chance it helps? (but then you face the dilemma of how to know when it’s you, do you just attribute every healing to the prayer?) A lot of people beat the odds with out any prayer at all.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that Dana Hibbard’s exploded brain brought them closer to God. But for me, it disturbs belief in a way that is difficult for me to come to grips with.


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