Kevin’s Conversations: What About Healing?
Healing is a simultaneously wonderful and uplifting and controversial and divisive and frustrating topic in the Christian world. We all have desired to be healed or to see others healed of ailments of varying degrees of severity. Sometimes we have been overjoyed to see healing take place. Many other times, not.
From a personal, spiritual, and emotional standpoint, we can experience the gratefulness and jubilation of healing granted from above. We also can become quite dismayed when healing doesn’t occur. Other times we come to rest in the sufficiency of God’s grace and sovereignty, even when we are not relieved of the thorn in our side. Some of us may be more prone to one sentiment than another, but overall we can go through quite a rollercoaster range of emotions.
From a theological standpoint, we can have all kinds of debate about healing. We probably just about all believe that God still heals miraculously.
But is healing a normative present day gift or something that was only given to the disciples and not meant for regular continuation?
Why does God sometimes heal and other times not? Is the atonement of Christ the basis for us to be physically healed today (i.e. by His stripes we are healed)? And if Benny Hinn truly has the gift of healing, why doesn’t he spend all his time visiting children’s hospitals rather than whipping his coat around on center stage in front of thousands of duped victims, err, I mean crusade attenders?
Now that last question is an obvious sarcastic jab, but there are those out there who do abuse their supposed gift of healing and/or teaching on the subject of healing. Where declared healings don’t actually happen. Where those who aren’t healed are made to believe it’s because they don’t have enough faith or didn’t give enough money. Where some are told they should rely only on the Lord and not seek medical help because seeking medical help is a lack of faith.
But that doesn’t mean that all those who place an emphasis on healing and/or believe in the continued gift of healing are hucksters. We have a beloved man here in our own community who is part of the Renewal Movement and carries himself with grace and integrity. We should not judge a group solely by their extreme whack jobs.
Then there is the aspect of medicine that gets wrapped into this and where the battleground often becomes the established medical world versus the alternative natural world. I am far from an expert on this issue but I know people can get quite militaristic in choosing sides, including Christians.
There are those who are heavily in favor of the established traditional medical world and will write off many, if not all things associated with natural healing as fraudulent or quackish. They rely on established medicine which has gone through rigorous testing and study and many years of experience. It is readily accepted and preferred by the large, large majority of medical professionals. And all that natural stuff is seen as the complete opposite in its testing and validation and the charge is made in many cases that it is phony, if not even on par with witch doctors and sorcery.
On the other hand, there are those who are ardently in favor of natural, homeopathic, holistic medicine. There is a strong belief that Big Medical and Big Pharma play the bully and collude against these alternative cures and often prevent them from even being able to go through the established testing and validation in order to gain the traditional credibility and stamp of approval. They believe that many times the natural cures are more effective in actually healing, and healing completely, as opposed to traditional medicine which makes one dependent on drugs and treatment for indefinitely long periods of time.
As for one personal example of testimony, I do have a family member who has dealt with a sickness for many years now. During the first couple years of the sickness, this person dealt primarily with the traditional medical field and received next to no help at all while the sickness only progressively got worse. It was only after seeking various alternative medicine and curing options that a seemingly proper diagnosis and real healing began to take place. They still deal with this sickness and very well may for the rest of their life to some degree, but in this case, only alternative medicine provided help.
This is just one example and testimony. I know there are other ones like it. On the other hand, I am sure there are plenty of testimonies of people who have been healed through traditional medicine and those who have had bad experiences with different types of alternative medicine.
I bring up all these matters about healing not because I am an expert, far from it. But for our consideration and discussion. Our desires are to be healed and to see others healed. In what can sometimes be our zealousness to approach healing in what we believe to be the “right” manner, I wonder if we don’t at times hinder healing with our approach and attitudes. Subsequently, maybe sometimes we even hinder and hurt our spiritual health with our approach and attitudes. Other times we may do ourselves good and experience improvement in these areas.
What all exactly encompasses the link or relation between physical and mental and emotional and spiritual health? That’s another biggee where there is certain to be varying thoughts and contention. There surely seems to be some manner correlation or crossover between them. At the very least, if we are experiencing physical ailment, it can potentially affect our health in these other areas. It may not always be easy to cogently explain our thoughts in full on the subject.
I have few direct answers to many of these questions. However, I think it is only “healthy” to ponder these things. At one time or another we’re all going to encounter affliction, either personally or to those close to us. If our yearnings are to be healed from physical ailments while also desiring spiritual health, I believe it will only help us to think through these issues. And all the more so if we can avoid unnecessary demonization and rhetoric toward those who think differently on the issues, while still maintaining our passion to see people well.