The Worm Must Die, the Cobra Must Go

By Ralph D. Winter

From his Editorial Comment originally published in the January 1998 Issue of Mission Frontiers.

Snake Charmers Cobra in Jaipur, India

Snake Charmers Cobra in Jaipur, India

To ignore the alarming connection between human (and/or satanic) responsibility and the evil that permeates this world is to plunge headlong into a type of Hindu fatalism.

But not to be too hard on the Hindus. Take the case of a devout Christian woman in the Middle Ages who considered a worm growing in her forehead something God had “sent” to her to keep her humble. One day, leaning over, she noticed that the “God-sent” worm fell out on the floor. She hurriedly restored it to the open sore in her forehead—not wishing to frustrate the purposes of God.

Is this not similar to a Hindu family grieving over the death of a child from the fangs of a cobra well-known to have made its abode in a clump of bamboo in the backyard? Even after the boy’s tragic and much mourned death the cobra continues on unassailed since the family earnestly seeks to “consent” to God’s will. God obviously placed that cobra in the clump of bamboo? Thus, the family feels it is not their place to eliminate that evil. Is this the best way to look at what is going on?

Or, finally, if you are ready for this, my wife and I hear from all kinds of wonderful loving people who are willing to pray for my wife whose cancer is steadily eating its way throughout all her bones. We deeply value and appreciate those prayers. We devoutly hope they help. But we think that there comes a time when the worm must die, and the cobra must go.

See, no one that I know of has suggested that we, the Evangelical world, have a responsibility to get up and “kill the worm” or “kill the cobra” when it comes to malaria or cancer. That is, no one has suggested that either I or Evangelicals in general set out resolutely with the millions of dollars at our disposal to combat the source of malaria or cancer.

Posted on June 25, 2012 and filed under Blog, Second 30.