Tim Howard is all over the news now with his spectacular effort in goal the other day. Here is a short article in which he talks about faith in Jesus and his Tourette syndrome.
The couple of lines I’m going to have a look at are, “That said; living with Tourette’s is not easy. But God has blessed me with the gift of athleticism as well.
He has done some powerful things in my life through the combination of these 2 gifts.”
The power of positive thinking really is wonderful. In Tim Howard’s case it lets him believe that Tourette’s has been a blessing from god because in overcoming the difficulties Tourette’s presented in his life he has learned skills and encountered opportunities that he otherwise would not have. It sounds so inspirational, but what’s wrong with this view?
For a start, Tim Howard doesn’t consider that if god is giving out blessings, then god could have handed out the very same skills directly to Tim, and cut out the middle man of Tourette’s. Hoping that someone learns important skills by encumbering them with diseases, injuries or genetic defects seems an awfully inefficient means of life coaching for a deity. After all, if the recipient fails to learn the skill, then essentially they’ve been left with a handicap for no good reason.
Next, Tim Howard fails to consider that the only reason he’s learned how to cope with Tourette’s is because he has access to a modern medical system which can identify the problem and prescribe a course of treatment. Were he not to have access to such a system simply because of the chance of his location then he may not see Torette’s as such a blessing.
Also, you’ve got to wonder how Tim Howard feels about getting treatment for Tourette’s. Once a handicap is seen as a blessing, then does undertaking treatment for the handicap, or having it cured, interfere with god’s plan? Likewise is charity in fact in opposition to helping the recipient learn the lessons that god has in store for the receiver? These are of course ridiculous exaggerations, but I’m only picking up and drawing the long bow which Tim Howard put on the table.
Last, I wonder how Tim Howard would view other afflictions much more serious than Tourette’s. With enough mental fortitude we may indeed be able to look on the bright side of life no matter what life throws at us, but I’m sure most people would decline the blessing of terminal cancer or Alzhemier’s no matter what blessings accrue by side effect.