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Playing the What if Game with God

My oldest sister Kathie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer back in October. I don’t remember the exact stage of this cancer, but the cells were so numerous that her chances for survival didn’t look good. As a former resident of Delaware, the cancer rate of this state is one of the highest in the nation. Despite the odds, I started playing the what if game with God in prayer.

Suppose there are in the city fifty righteous; will You destroy the place and not spare it for [the sake of] the fifty righteous in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing—to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as do the wicked! Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth execute judgment and do righteously? 26 And the Lord said, If I find in the city of Sodom fifty righteous (upright and in right standing with God), I will spare the whole place for their sake, Genesis 18:24-26.

This concept in introduced by Moses in Genesis 18. Leading up to Abraham’s prayer listed above, God appears to be talking out loud to Himself, wondering if He should let Abraham know about his plans to judge the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. After a brief time of consideration, God clues Abraham in on His plan. Since Abraham’s nephew Lot is a resident of Sodom, Abraham begins playing the what if game with God in his own prayer.

Abraham answered, Behold now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord. 28 If five of the fifty righteous should be lacking—will You destroy the whole city for lack of five? He said, If I find forty-five, I will not destroy it, Genesis 18:28-29.

The more Abraham prays, it comes to his attention that they may not be that many righteous people in right standing with God. Subsequently, Abraham emulates the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8, wrestling with God in prayer. Although Lot escapes God’s wrath, his wife and the remaining residents aren’t as fortunate. Following Kathie’s five-hour surgery on Monday, only three more precautionary chemotherapy sessions remain. While only God knows the ultimate outcome, wrestling with God in prayer was worth every minute.

by Jay Mankus


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