The Living Ladder of God's Love

Firemen frequently rescue men by force. God rescues men only by a demonstration of His love.

By the Editors of the Ministry.

Fire departments deal with emergen­cies. So does God. Fire departments use ladders. So does God. Ladders are often associated with emergencies.

The first and greatest emergency came about when the highest officer in heaven accused God of being cold, austere, stern, not interested in the happiness of His cre­ated beings. It was to refute this charge, to show the character of God, that Jesus came to earth. He came to demonstrate in an unanswerable way that God loves man, to show how heaven really feels about earth. That is the gospel. That is the lad­der of love which alone could rescue man from the fire that would consume him.

But the methods of fire departments and the methods of God are vastly different. Firemen frequently rescue men by force. God rescues men only by a demonstration of His love.

Through Isaiah the Saviour told His mission: "He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound" (Isa. 61:1).

When we have defined the work of Jesus we have also defined true medical mis­sionary work. For they are one and the same—to help people in whatever state they are and in whatever way they need help.

"To reach the people. wherever they are, and whatever their position or condition, and to help them in every way possible,—this is true ministry." —The Ministry of Healing, p. 156.

Even God cannot help people unless He can reach them. But He has devised ways of reaching them. One of His most success­ful ways is the combination of medical missionary work and the preaching of the gospel. Think of it as a ladder of love, a ladder that both reaches and lifts.

You remember Jacob's ladder. The top of it reached to heaven. The bottom reached tO where Jacob was. What a tragedy if that ladder had failed by just one rung to reach the earth, to reach Jacob! All would have been lost. But it did reach him. And that is the story of Christ's mission.

The measure of our Saviour's journey is the measure of our wanderings. He de­scended the ladder as far as we had fallen —not one rung less. Picture the greatest need, the deepest sin. His love ladder reaches there to meet that need. And Jesus came not merely to tell the love of His Father. He demonstrated it.

Now think of that ladder. It was a long, long ladder down which our Saviour de­scended. No matter how far from heaven to you and me, He reaches us still. That is love. And love knows no bounds.

In that demonstration of love God gives us a picture of what He would have His people do in His name. In Isaiah 58 we see God's Sabbathkeeping people as medical missionaries, seeking the poor and the needy. And this missionary work is to por­tray to lost men and women the love of God. To conduct medical missionary work with the object of bringing in money is to prostitute a great spiritual program to a mere material end.

Our every approach to the sick should be to reveal the love of God. We may at times lack some technical ability, espe­cially when we endeavor to harness the entire church into this work. But there must never be a lack of love. What a contradiction it would be to give the sim­plest treatment to the sick, even a drink of cold water, in anything but the at­mosphere of lover Love is the very heart of all true service.

Miracle Cures and Miracle Healings

We live in a day of miracle cures and miracle healings. And while we thank God for every advance of science, yet in the divine program of medical missionary work we see a unique plan. It is His pur­pose for His servants to come into close and intimate contact with the sick and the needy. Drugs, even miracle drugs, often fail to produce desired ends, but God's plans, rightly understood and followed in faith, never fail. And these plans He has revealed to His people.

Had God so wished, He could have given us a miracle drug surpassing all other miracle drugs put together. And someday He may choose to do something far be­yond human thought, for He is a Sover­eign God. But His plan for us today is wonderfully simple, yet simply wonderful in its effectiveness. "Pure air, sunlight, ab­stemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power"—these are called "the true remedies" (The Ministry of Healing, p. 127), not only be­cause they are most effective, but because they take time, and thus God's servants are kept longer in contact with the people.

"The use of natural remedies requires an amount of care and effort that many are not willing to give. Nature's process of healing and upbuilding is grad­ual, and to the impatient it seems slow. The sur­render of hurtful indulgences requires sacrifice. But in the end it will be found that nature, untram­meled, does her work wisely and ivell."—/bid., p. 127.

In the days of our Lord's ministry, heal­ing miracles were a proof of His divinity. But in these last days the enemy of souls is so cleverly counterfeiting miracles of healing that many are being deceived. For that reason God may not often choose to reveal His healing power as in the days of the apostles, although we have been as­sured that under the mighty power of the latter rain "miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed."—The Great Con­troversy, p. 612.

Sometimes our Saviour healed those who had brought disease upon them­selves, yet He always taught them a new way of life. And the medical missionary, working in Christ's stead, has a wonderful opportunity to teach better ways of living. Can we rightfully expect God miraculously to heal one who has brought misery upon himself by wrong habits of living if He knows that that person would only con­tinue the old way of life after being healed?

Why Do We Have Sanitariums?

"Some have asked me, 'Why should we have sanitariums? Why should we not, like Christ, pray for the sick, that they may be healed miraculously?' have answered, 'Suppose we were able to do this in all cases: how many would appreciate the heal­ing? Would those who were healed become health reformers, or continue to be health destroyers?' "— Medical Ministry, p. 13.

"Those who gratify their appetite, and then suffer because of their intemperance, and take drugs to relieve them, may be assured that God will not interpose to save health and life which are so reck­lessly periled."—/bid., p. 14.

"God will not work a miracle to keep those from sickness who have no care for themselves, but are continually violating the laws of health, and make no efforts to prevent disease."—Counsels on Health, p. 59.

Now let us ask ourselves a question: If God has a special reason for not working a large number of miracles of healing to­day, can He be pleased when methods are followed that encourage the unrestrained use of so-called miracle drugs? Some in­dividual, through disregard of the laws of health, such as lack of rest, overwork, poor food, and unhealthful mixtures, may have brought upon himself an acute attack of some disease. So he seeks help, and is given a miracle shot, and presto! In a few hours he is "well" again and free to continue his wrong habits of living, and possibly to return in a few months with something worse, and have the process repeated. Can this possibly be God's way of life and peace for His people?

God has given us this clear counsel:

"If we neglect to do that which is within the reach of nearly every family, and ask the Lord to relieve pain, when we are too indolent to make use of these remedies within our power, it is simply pre­sumption."—Medical Ministry, p. 230.

Let us ask ourselves again: If it is pre­sumption to call upon the ministers to pray for our healing without reforming our habits and using the natural remedies God has provided, are we not also bor­dering on presumption when we ask a doc­tor for a miracle shot for something we have brought upon ourselves by holding on to habits of eating and living that we know are out of harmony with His coun­sel?

As if in anticipation of the perplexing question of indiscriminate drug medica­tion God moved His servant to write: "On this point the conscience of the physician must ever be kept tender, and true, and p. 227.

We have been clearly told that "the disease and suffering that everywhere pre­vail are largely due to popular errors in regard to diet."—The Ministry of Heal­ing, p. 295.

In some quarters the question of diet is treated very lightly, and in other areas it is ignored entirely. Time and patience are required to educate people in the ways of healthful living, but when we fol­low this plan and use this slower, less spec­tacular method in our medical missionary work, we may be assured that we are not acting with presumption.

This issue of THE MINISTRY salutes our College of Medical Evangelists because from its halls have poured a host of godly men and women who are carrying out the objectives of the school, recognizing that with all their training and skills it is still the power of God that does the healing.

How frequently have we been reminded that we are not to look to some human being and his great skill to heal, but to the Giver of life. When we look to spec­tacular and miraculous cures and remedies in the field of health, there is a danger that we might forget that "Satan is the de­stroyer; God is the Restorer. . . . 'I am the Lord that healeth thee.' "—Medical Min­istry, p. 11.

How the Ladder Lifts

This, then, is God's plan. And how thankful we should be for the clear teach­ing He has given us. It was to promote an educational center where men and women could be trained according to God's plan that our medical college was established. These men and women, by uniting with Christ, were to be God's modern gospel­medical-missionary ladder, reaching to the ends of the earth, and all the while combining their efforts with the ministry. They were to reach down to mankind with the healing balm of heaven, not for self-aggrandizement, not for financial gain, but to demonstrate the great compassion and love of God.

"Physical healing is bound up with the gospel commission. In the work of the gospel, teaching and healing are never to be separated."—The Min­istry of Healing, p. 141.

"Never to be separated," the messenger of the Lord says. And never is not very often.

The ladder of God's love is intended to be traveled in both directions. It reaches down to man. But it also reaches up to God. Jesus came down and took upon Him­self our humanity that He might take our humanity—reformed and transformed—with Him up to the highest level. And while we unite with Him in reaching to the lowest, we are also to unite with Him in lifting men and women to the highest.

What a contrast from the pattern of our modern, deluded, befuddled world. How many are the victims of modern commer­cial advertising. Constantly we are bom­barded on radio and TV with the prom­ise that we can eat as we please and escape the results by simply taking a tablet or a capsule or a glass of this or that.

The first of such commercials was broad­cast long ago from a tree in the Garden of Eden. God warned that death would re­sult from disobedience. Satan's commer­cial talked of "a treat instead of a treat­ment." And his plan has not changed. He brings to the world today a mixture of science and pseudo-science—a blended nos­trum of truth and error. He says, "Eat what you please—it won't hurt you."

The first falsehood of the enemy is that God does not love you. The second false­hood is that it makes no difference whether you obey God or not. The way to escape suffering is to take some sure cure—but just live as you please. True gospel-medical-missionary work counteracts both lies.

The devil's plan of healing is but a temporary delusion. Sooner or later the soul awakes to the realization that in these methods there is no lasting help. But in contrast, God says, "I am the Lord that healeth thee." "Go, and sin no more."


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By the Editors of the Ministry.

October 1955

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Tracing fifty years of medical ministry at the College of Medical Evangelists.

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Health Evangelism in London

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