Faith in the God of Miracles
Published on July 14-15, 2012 in the Parish Bulletin of Saint Andrew Catholic Church, Harrodsburg KY
“This is too much!” Mrs. Rourke complained. “We’ve been to every single service. If [Pastor] Roy would stop choosing these strangers over you…strangers who don’t even believe. I just can’t pray any harder.”
It had been the sixth time that she had brought her daughter Layla to the Reverend Roy LeGrange’s tent revival. Mrs. Rourke had been hoping that this was the hour that the famed faith healer would cure her child of an inoperable tumor in her brain. The doctors had given Layla six months to live and her time was running out.
But, instead, the reverend singled out Dean Winchester, a skeptic who had been dragged by his brother Sam to the healing service. Dean had just dismissed the preacher as another profiteer preying on the prayerful. His remark caught the attention of the preacher who called him up to the makeshift sanctuary. He prayed over him and healed him of his heart condition. But, even that was not enough to make a believer out of Dean. This dismayed Mrs. Rourke who thought that a miracle had been wasted on a disbeliever. She would later confront Dean with a question that would continue to haunt him: “Why do you deserve to live more than my daughter?”
That was perhaps the most poignant and pointed moment in the episode “Faith” of the TV series Supernatural. Even the brothers Winchester, expert hunters of things supernatural, were confounded by the mystery of human misery and could give neither Mrs. Rourke nor the audience a satisfactory answer. In the end it was Layla, still unhealed of her illness, who found a resolution to this dilemma of human suffering that taunted both the faithful and the faithless.
She later shared with Dean that Pastor Roy finally laid his hands on her head; but, no healing ever came out of it. “It must be rough,” Dean remarked, “to believe in something so much and to have it disappoint you like that.” But, Layla was not disillusioned. She told Dean, “I guess if you’re gonna have faith, you can’t just have it when the miracles happen. You have to have it when they don’t.” She had come to realize that faith was more than just believing in the miracles of God; faith was believing in the God of miracles.
Perhaps, that was why, unlike her mother, Layla did not think that any of what she had to go through was “too much.” She prayed to God, not only because she was seeking a remedy from Him, but because He was always her “refuge in times of trouble” (Ps. 9:9). She believed in God not because she was trying to get something out of Him but because He was Someone whom she could count on. It was her intense faith that eventually inspired Dean who was “not much the praying type” to promise that he would pray for her. Although he did not believe in miracles, Dean managed to believe that, no matter what, God would look after his friend.
“Well,” Layla smiled as she said, “there’s a miracle right there.”