This may possibly be the most controversial blog of this series. The reason I think so is, it seems, that everyone has their own ideas for what role the medical community should play in the healing process. The following list is a sampling of the ideas that I have come across from Christians:
- You should use every available means to combat sickness/disease/injury. This includes home remedies, medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), medical professionals, clinics and hospitals. God gave us these things in order to alleviate our infirmities.
- Medications should be used sparingly, if at all. Medicines, medical professionals, clinics and hospitals should be used only as a last resort. You should wait on God to provide the healing, or to give clear direction to seek medical help. If no direction is given, then seek medical help as a last resort.
- You should not take medications or seek medical help for any reason unless specifically directed by God.
Within my own denomination, I have heard many opinions from opposite ends of the spectrum.
I believe that every bit of knowledge that we possess comes from God. Our ability to learn comes from Him. This is true for every kind of knowledge. You can read through the Bible and realize that, although it isn’t always specifically stated, God gave knowledge for a specific purpose at a specific time.
“As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-Cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.” (Gen 4:22 NASB).
It seems strange that we should be told early on in Genesis that anyone was a “forger of all implements of bronze and iron,” yet this is all we know of Tubal-Cain. Where did he develop this idea to work with bronze and iron? It came from God. Why do we need to know about it here? So that when tools start being used (i.e., Noah) it is not strange.
This same concept of God supplying the knowledge needs to be applied to the medical world. I believe that God can heal us through many different means. I am open to receiving His healing whether it is a Miraculous touch from above, or through the skillful work of a physician. I believe that both of these things originate at the cross – “by His stripes we are healed.”
In the 1st part of this series, I quoted Psalm 103:3 which says:
“1Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;”
It is my belief that God heals us in a variety of ways, one being through medical intervention. It is important that you understand what I am saying. God is doing the healing in every instance. In some cases, I believe that He uses miracles to heal. In other cases, I believe He uses medicine.
In that introductory blog, I used an example of how my broken leg was healed through medical intervention. The doctors were able to operate on my leg, insert a plate and some screws, put me in a cast, and prescribe physical therapy. The physical therapists were able to work with me to help me with range of motion and strength. However, the doctors were not able to force the bone to grow back together and the physical therapists were not able to force the muscle to respond correctly. Only God was able to do that. Could God have miraculously restored my leg without the need for surgery or PT? Yes. Why didn’t He? Well, God only knows!
The medical world is able to help the body do what it is “naturally” intended to do. I put that in quotes, because our bodies are only naturally able to heal because of God. He created us. He designed our bodies so that they would heal from wounds and diseases. However, we see that He has allowed us to be involved in the body’s natural healing process throughout the Bible. Isaiah 53:5 says:
“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”
The Hebrew word for “healed” used here is râphâ’, which is translated as “heal, heals, healed, healer, physician, and physicians.” This is where we come to know God as “Jehovah Rapha – the Lord our Healer”. He is the Great Physician. This same word is used in other places in the Old Testament about other physicians, as well:
Genesis 50:2 – “Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel.”
Jeremiah 8:22 – “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored?”
There are several verses that talk about medicines:
Proverbs 17:22 – “A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
Isaiah 1:6 – “From the sole of the foot even to the head There is nothing sound in it, Only bruises, welts and raw wounds, Not pressed out or bandaged, Nor softened with oil.”
Isaiah 38:21 – “Now Isaiah had said, ‘Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.’”
Jeremiah 46:11 – “Go up to Gilead and obtain balm, O virgin daughter of Egypt! In vain have you multiplied remedies; There is no healing for you.”
Luke 10:34 – “and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.”
It is also interesting that the Holy Spirit chose Luke, a physician by trade, to write not only one of the gospel narratives, but to then follow it up with the detailed history of the establishment of the first century church (the book of Acts.) It is also interesting to note that while most people think that Paul wrote 1/3 of the New Testament, he really didn’t. He actually wrote a little more than 25% of it. Luke, on the other hand, who Paul referred to as “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14) wrote approximately 27% of the New Testament. Is that proof that the Lord intended for doctors to be a part of His healing plan? No. But it is interesting nonetheless.
As I stated at the beginning of this blog, there are numerous beliefs on what role medicine should play in God’s healing plan. These beliefs can be extremely varied even in close knit groups. I seriously doubt that I could have written a blog that would have influenced anyone in one way or another. So, my effort was just to lay out some basic information. I will say, though, that I do believe that the Holy Spirit was extremely purposeful when writing the Bible. Every detail was carefully chosen. I believe that each author was picked for a particular reason. They each wrote on the exact dates that they were inspired to. They were all thrust into situations that made circumstances for writing clear to them. I could go on, but that is a blog topic unto itself. Anyway, all of that to say, I believe that Luke was chosen for his particular insight as a doctor. We can also see that he was valued as a doctor, and given the prominent task to writing as much as he did.