Yesterday we visited the restored home of pioneer/explorer/Indian negotiator Jacob Hamblin. We learned some of his history, and he had several miracles that happened in his life. One story made me think a little, so here is the editorialized version.
When Jacob was a teen, he and his father went “out West,” to what would become Wisconsin, to clear some land and claim a homestead. After the land was cleared, his father went back to gather the rest of the family while Jacob stayed with the land. First off, today’s teens probably don’t have the work ethic to clear the land in the first place, but secondly, the parents would be declared unfit parents if they left the teen for months unattended without a proper home, running water, food, school, or adult supervision. To make things worse, Jacob did have an accident while he was alone. He almost chopped his leg off with an axe. He had no 911, no emergency rooms, no health insurance, no other person in the area. He was able to stop the bleeding, but as it started to heal it developed a severe infection. He became worried enough that he was able to ride to the next closest neighbor and ask for advice. The neighbors warned him that the infection was bad, and that to prevent it spreading and to save his life, he would need to have the leg amputated at the knee.
Now here is a teenaged boy, all alone, needing to make a decision about amputating his leg to save his life. He had no cell phone to call his parents, no medical plan, no disability insurance, no hospital. I see some definite advantages to modern society. On the flip side, how would modern society deal with that situation? Today we would throw the parents in jail for gross negligence and put the boy in foster care on disability and welfare for the remainder of his life. Back then they didn’t pay high enough taxes or have large enough government to pay for the court fees, lawyers, foster care system, or prison space, so they did nothing.
Instead Jacob turned to his only real source of aid. He prayed. He prayed fervently that he would know what to do. He felt a great peace, but still was not sure what to do. An hour later a woman wandered up to where he was staying. She told him that she was not sure why she was there, but she felt that he may need some help. Jacob showed her his leg and the woman immediately went out and found some plants and herbs to draw out the infection. The leg went on to heal completely and Jacob became one of the greatest trailblazers and explorers of Utah and Arizona. Additionally Jacob learned about prayer, and grew in faith in God.
I think God is plenty capable of helping us even in our modern society of conveniences, but it does make me wonder how many times we rob ourselves of the opportunities to learn to really rely on God. How much harder must it be to learn to trust in Him when we have practically instant access to every convenience and a large government with seemingly bottomless pockets to bail us out, and to mitigate disasters. How many of our youth don’t know to turn to prayer for answers, simply because they have never needed to? How many of us fit in that category? I think we are all still given the opportunities to call on our Father in prayer for help, but I think those opportunities are harder and harder to recognize. I think they are being more and more often rationalized away, and more often dismissed as proof that there is no God, rather than as the opportunity for a miracle.
- The Purpose of Prayer (trinityspeaks.wordpress.com)