Faith and the Healing Art

WHAT Seventh-day Adventist has not heard these words: "Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven's storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence"?

Talk given in Giffard Memorial Hospital auditorium, Nuzvid, India, by Mrs. Small, wife of Dr. Carrol S. Small, associate professor of pathology, on loan from CME to Vellore Christian Medical College, India.

WHAT Seventh-day Adventist has not heard these words: "Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven's storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence"?—Steps to Christ, pp. 94, 95.

India has many open wells. Suppose I hear a cry for help from the bottom of a well. I look down and see a head bobbing around on the water. Hurriedly I search for a rope to lower to the one down there. His cries for help con­tinue, but when the rope readies him, he does not grasp it—he continues to cry for help. A ridiculous situation, you say. Of course it is ridiculous, but is it any more so than our own situation? We, too, are crying earnestly for help. Why doesn't God answer? He has answered. "Be­fore they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." God's Word abounds with answers to our petitions. We have been familiar with them all our lives. Then what is the trouble? We do not take hold of His Word to bring it into our own experience. Jesus said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also" (John 14:12). Note the follow­ing inspired passages from The Ministry of Healing:

The same power that Christ exercised when He walked visibly among men is in His word. It was by His word that Jesus healed disease and cast out de­mons; by His word He stilled the sea and raised the dead; and the people bore witness that His word was with power. He spoke the word of God, as He had spoken to all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament. The whole Bible is a manifestation of Christ.

The Scriptures are to be received as God's word to us, not written merely, but spoken. When the afflicted ones came to Christ, He beheld not only those who asked for help, but all who throughout the ages should come to Him in like need and with like faith. When He said to the paralytic. "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee"; when He said to the woman of Capernaum, "Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace," He spoke to other afflicted, sin-bur­dened ones who should seek His help. Matt. 9:2; Luke 8:48.

So with all the promises of God's word. In them He is speaking to us individually, speaking as di­rectly as if we could listen to His voice. It is in these promises that Christ communicates to us His grace and power. They are leaves from that tree which is for "the healing of the nations." Rev. 22:2. Received, assimilated, they are to be the strength of the character, the inspiration and sustenance of the life. Nothing else can have such healing power. Nothing besides can impart the courage and faith which give vital energy to the whole being.—Page 122.

We have considered faith in God's promises in rather a general way. Now let us focus our attention on faith as it works in the healing art. We read again from The Ministry of Healing:

In the ministry of healing, the physician is to be a co-worker with Christ. The Saviour ministered to both the soul and the body. The gospel which He taught was a message of spiritual life and of physi­cal restoration. Deliverance from sin and the heal­ing of disease were linked together. The same min­istry is committed to the Christian physician. He is to unite with Christ in relieving both the physical and the spiritual needs of his fellow men. He is to be to the sick a messenger of mercy, bringing to them a remedy for the diseased body and for the sin-sick soul.

Christ is the true head of the medical profession. The Chief Physician, He is at the side of every God-fearing practitioner who works to relieve hu­man suffering. While the physician uses nature's remedies for physical disease, he should point his patients to Him who can relieve the maladies of both the soul and the body. That which physicians can only aid in doing, Christ accomplishes. They endeavor to assist nature's work of healing; Christ Himself is the healer, the physician seeks to pre­serve life; Christ imparts life.—Page 111.

The physician should teach his patients that they are to co-operate with God in the work of restora­tion. The physician has a continually increasing realization of the fact that disease is the result of sin. He knows that the laws of nature, as truly as the precepts of the Decalogue, are divine, and that only in obedience to them can health be recovered or preserved.

He sees many suffering as the result of hurtful practices who might be restored to health if they would do what they might for their own restora­tion. They need to be taught that every practice which destroys the physical, mental, or spiritual energies is sin, and that health is to be secured through obedience to the laws that God has estab­lished for the good of all mankind. ...

God desires us to reach the standard of perfec­tion made possible for us by the gift of Christ. He calls upon us to make our choice on the right side, to connect with heavenly agencies, to adopt principles that will restore in us the divine image. In His written word and in the great book of nature, He has revealed the principles of life. It is our work to obtain a knowledge of these principles, and by obedience to co-operate with Him in restoring health to the body as well as to the soul.—Pages 113-115.

Continuing to read from the same book, we find these words on page 115: "Our Saviour's words, 'Come unto Me, . . . and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28), are a prescription for the healing of physical, mental, and spiritual ills. Though men have brought suffering upon themselves by their own wrongdoing, He regards them with pity. In Him they may find help. He will do great things for those who trust in Him." Quoting again from The Ministry of Healing:

If human beings would open the windows of the soul heavenward, in appreciation of the divine gifts, a flood of healing virtue would pour in.— Page 116.

Wonderful are the opportunities given to the guardians of the sick. In all that is done for the restoration of the sick, let them understand that the physician is seeking to help them co-operate with God in combating disease. Lead them to feel that at every step taken in harmony with the laws of God, they may expect the aid of divine power.— Page 118.

A New Look at God's Purpose in Healing

If there are some who have entertained the thought that our work of healing is to make friends with people so they will listen to the gospel, I hope they will take a fresh look and see God's gracious purposes in desiring us to make every act of healing a testimony of God's gracious dealings with His children. As our patients thus catch a glimpse of God's love and mercy, they will hunger to know more. Note these words from Counsels on Health, giving instruction regarding the influence and work of Christian nurses and doctors:

The sick need to have wise words spoken to them. Nurses should study the Bible daily, that they may be able to speak words that will enlighten and help the suffering. Angels of God are in the rooms where these suffering ones are being ministered to, and the atmosphere surrounding the soul of the one giving treatment should be pure and fragrant.

Physicians and nurses are to cherish the principles of Christ. In their lives His virtues are to be seen. Then, by what they do and say, they will draw the sick to the Saviour.

The Christian nurse, while administering treat­ment for the restoration of health, will pleasantly and successfully draw the mind of the patient to Christ, the healer of the soul as well as of the body. The thoughts presented, here a little and there a little, will have their influence. The older nurses should lose no favorable opportunity of calling the attention of the sick to Christ. They should be ever ready to blend spiritual healing with physical healing.

In the kindest and tenderest manner nurses are to teach that he who would be healed must cease to transgress the law of God. He must cease to choose a life of sin. God cannot bless the one who continues to bring upon himself disease and suffer­ing by a willful violation of the laws of heaven. But Christ, through the Holy Spirit, comes as a healing power to those who cease to do evil and learn to do well.—Page 406.

I like these words addressed to Christian phy­sicians, also found in Counsels on Health:

The young physician has access to the God of Daniel. Through divine grace and power, he may become as efficient in his calling as Daniel was in his exalted position. But it is a mistake to make a scientific preparation the all-important thing, while religious principles, that lie at the very foundation of a successful practice, are neglected. Many are lauded as skillful men in their profession, who scorn the thought that they need to rely upon Jesus for wisdom in their work. But if these men who trust in their knowledge of science were il­luminated by the light of Heaven, to how much greater excellence might they attain! How much stronger would be their powers, with how much greater confidence could they undertake difficult cases! The man who is closely connected with the Great Physician of soul and body, has the resources of heaven and earth at his command, and he can work with a wisdom, an unerring precision, that the godless man cannot possess.

Those to whom the care of the sick is entrusted, whether as physicians or nurses, should remember that their work must stand the scrutiny of the piercing eye of Jehovah. There is no missionary field more important than that occupied by the faithful, God-fearing physician. There is no field where a man may accomplish greater good, or win more jewels to shine in the crown of his rejoicing. He may carry the grace of Christ, as a sweet per­fume, into all the sickrooms he enters; he may carry the true healing balm to the sin-sick soul. He can point the sick and dying to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. He should not listen to the suggestion that it is dan­gerous to speak of their eternal interests to those whose lives are in peril, lest it should make them worse; for in nine cases out of ten the knowledge of a sin-pardoning Saviour would make them bet­ter both in mind and body. Jesus can limit the power of Satan. He is the physician in whom the sin-sick soul may trust to heal the maladies of the body as well as the soul.—Pages 329, 330.

The physician should know how to pray. In many cases he must increase suffering in order to save life; and whether the patient is a Christian or not, he feels greater security if he knows that his physi­cian fears God. Prayer will give the sick an abiding confidence; and many times if their cases are borne to the Great Physician in humble trust, it will do more for them than all the drugs that can be ad­ministered.—Page 324.

In conclusion, I wish to leave -with you a high note of courage from Christ's Object Les­sons:

"As the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent. Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings.—Page 333.

 

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