I’m Putting My Faith in Science After My Son’s Diagnosis

Somi Igbene, PhD avatar

by Somi Igbene, PhD |

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I can’t put into words how gut-wrenching it was to receive my son’s sickle cell diagnosis. I had prayed fervently that he would be sickle-free, but alas, God had other plans. At least, that’s what my family and every other religious person told me.

But did God really have other plans, or did my genes just rear their ugly head?

As a person of African descent, I can’t fully explain how much religion rules the Black community and perhaps other ethnic communities.

Religion dictates our every move, whether it’s accepting a job, the way we dress, the type of food we can eat, how we relate to people, whom we can marry, and the list goes on.

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In our community, there’s always a religious explanation for everything that happens in daily life. In a nutshell, everything negative originates from the devil and everything positive from God. If a negative situation doesn’t perfectly fit the devil narrative, it’s either God’s way of testing your faith, punishing you for sin, or believing you can handle the task or situation at hand, which is why you’ve been given it.

While I’d resigned myself to that narrative in the past, I found myself pondering whether it made sense a few nights ago.

Why would God give us life-threatening situations to test us or because we can handle them? If it is a test, are there no other ways to test a person than by giving them constant, aggravating pain? What sort of cruel test is that?

Why would a loving God give a person something that affects their well-being just because the person can handle it? Why doesn’t God give them superhuman abilities to make the world a fairer, better place?

The narrative of God giving people situations to test them or because they can handle it makes absolutely no sense to me.

I’ve decided that I prefer to stick to science and accept that sickle cell was simply bad luck. The odds were not in my favor this time.

I had no choice about the genes I was dealt. In hindsight, I could have done other things to minimize or eliminate the risk of having a child with sickle cell.

I would like to say that I wouldn’t change a thing and would do it all over again, but that statement is a double-edged sword. My love for my son is unquestionable, but I would rather he didn’t have to deal with a chronic condition.

That said, maybe God gave us this situation to let us know that a chronic condition doesn’t define us. We can still live a fruitful, fantastic life despite the challenges we may face.


Note: Sickle Cell Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Disease News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell disease.


Debbie avatar


Sometimes we ask same questions especially when we are in crisis. But like you said we can still be who God wants us to be even with our health challenges. "The Bible says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." So build up a strong spirit in your son let him always see that God is good to him no matter what. Thanks

Tiffany avatar


Hi. I read your article and you did bring up questions that everybody ask. I'm sorry to hear about your son. I'm African-American, I have Sickle Cell Disease & I believe in God. In just my opinion, God didn't intend for us to be sick. God is love. This world we live in is in Satan the Devil hands, not God. I don't want to sound "preachy" or upset anyone because we're adults & its a discussion. I want to just leave my comment with a scripture at James 1:13-"When under trial, let no one say:"I am being tried by God." For with evil things God can not be tried,nor does he himself try anyone.


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