Divine Healing Part I. Should Christians Seek Medical Help?
"Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses."1
A Daily Encounter reader writes, "Is it biblically correct for some 'religious' groups to refuse their 'followers' to be taken for medical attention at clinics/hospitals for help when they are sick? And is it right not to allow immunization of children against diseases like polio, measles, etc.? They claim that God's Word in the Bible is against such? I think God's word is being misused here."
Dear Cheryl (name changed), you are correct in saying that God's Word is being misused here. Unfortunately, there will always be some people who mean well but are sadly misguided. And there will always be religious fanatics who misinterpret God's Word to twist it to say what they want it to say … and do so to control their followers. The Bible calls this legalism and being bewitched.2
Personally speaking, I believe it is very misleading and even cruel to deny anyone the medical attention they need. Even Paul said to Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach sake. And Paul himself had some affliction from which God never delivered him or never healed him; rather, God said, "My grace is sufficient for you."3
I'm embarrassed to admit it, but my father went through a stage of religious fanaticism and refused to have my younger sister immunized. She died of diphtheria when she was only two-and-a-half years old.
In much younger days I taught a Sunday school class of ten-year-old boys. I loved these kids. We had some great times together. However, one of these boys was slowly going blind, but his parents believed God would heal him so never sought any kind of medical help. It was very sad to see this cruelty.
In later years a close friend of mine, when in his mid-40s, had cancer and went to a healing group who prayed for him after which they told him he was healed … so he never got the medical attention he desperately needed. Some months later he excitedly told me about his healing experience. In no time he was back in hospital. His body was riddled with cancer and it was too late then for medical help. He died within a few months.
True, sometimes God does heal people and sometimes he doesn't. But thank God for medical help, for without it, many more of us would not be healed.
And by the way, Luke, an early follower of Jesus, writer of one of the four Gospels, and a missionary companion of Paul, was a physician.
To be continued ….
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please deliver me from religious legalism and fanaticism, help me to be realistic, and give me the wisdom needed to have a balanced view and understanding of your Word—and the good sense to apply it to my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 Timothy 5:23 (NIV).
2. See Galatians 3:1-5.
3. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10.