Monday, January 18, 2010


As a Christian (Catholic or otherwise) you may wonder if it is OK to take advantage of modern techniques of medicine and psychology. You might wonder whether your problems would be solved if you had more faith. You may hear yourself asking questions like:

· If God loves me enough, won't he heal me naturally?
· If I am holy enough, isn't my faith be enough to result in healing?
· Am I trusting in medicine rather than God?
· Am I trusting in people (doctors, psychotherapists, etc.) or in God?
· What if this suffering I am going through is God's way of teaching me holiness?
· The Apostle Paul had a "thorn in the flesh," could this suffering be mine?

If you ask these or similar questions, you are not alone. Many godly Christians question whether it's appropriate to seek medical help.

What the Bible Says

It is true that there many healings occur in the Scripture without the aid of doctors or other outside sources. But there are also times when God uses people and natural materials to heal people.

1. Jesus healed a man's blindness by placing clay upon the man's eyes and telling him to wash (John 9:6-12). It's not clear why he used the clay (filled with Jesus' spit), but what is clear is that Jesus didn't merely heal the man by verbal command.
2. In Acts 19: 12 we read that the Corinthians were healed when they received handkerchiefs or aprons touched by the Apostle Paul. Why weren't they healed through their own faith? We don't know. We do know, that like the clay, these materials were agents of healing.
3. In I Timothy 5:23 Paul tells his beloved Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach and frequent ailments. Certainly Timothy was a man of faith. Paul recognized that the wine had medical benefits in addition to Timothy's faith.
4. James encourages healing by prayer and anointing with oil (James 5: 14). Surely the oil has ritual and symbolic significance, but the point is that the Scripture is full of examples of healing due to actions beyond mere faith.

The Fallen World

Ours is a fallen world. The book of Romans says that all of creation (including our bodies) has been subjected to effects of sin in the world (8:20-23). We get sick. We experience serious disease. Our relationships are impacted by the effects of the sins of generations before us (Numbers 14:18). We make our own unfortunate choices and compound the conflicts in our lives.

A Role in Healing

Just as Jesus came as a healer of our souls, so too can physicians and counselors be agents of healing. Physicians, with wisdom that comes from the study of the bodies that God created, can assist in restoring the biological balance that God intended. Psychotherapists and counselors can be agents of change, supporting spiritual growth by removing the psychological obstacles to holiness.

Cooperators with God, Christian physicians and counselors can be important tools in your spiritual, emotional, and physical growth. You need not view getting help as a compromise of faith. Rather view it as an exercise in wisdom, using the tools that God has provided.
St Luke - Patron saint of Physicians

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