March 16, 2020
Last week the COVID-19 viral disease that has swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people was officially categorized as a pandemic. As amazing as the advancements in medical technology have been over the past century, the limits to progress in the medical field are painfully obvious. Many chronic diseases still plague mankind, such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and other disease, for which modern medicine has few remedies. Many “wonder drugs” are looked upon with skepticism, because it sometimes costs nearly as much to treat the side effects as it does to purchase them. The truth is that currently, given the fact that we are struggling to provide enough vaccines for this current epidemic, we probably could not afford to provide a cure for cancer or these other diseases, even if they were to be developed. Many people cannot afford the drugs they are prescribed, and many others do not have adequate or affordable health insurance. A valid question that many might have is, if conventional medicine has no answers, and some of the medical advances are so expensive they might be out of reach for the vast majority of people, where do people turn for real solutions to health problems? More and more, in this country and around the world, people are seeking answers from science, and putting their trust in their government for answers. Christians are challenged with these same questions and find themselves crying out to God, saying why? And where are you God in all of this?
In the Bible, God revealed Himself to the children of Israel as Jehovah-Rapha, the Healer of all our troubles. Our existence on this earth is limited, and according to God’s Word, our short lives will be full of trouble, but in God’s plan our troubles have a reason. God brings trouble into the lives of His people so that we can know Him as Jehovah-Rapha, “the Lord that heals you,” Exodus 15:26. Our God has many ways that He can make the troubles in our lives survivable, including our health. Sometimes He chooses to do something that can only be explained as God at work in our lives. How often have you been in such great sorrow and trouble that you thought you could not endure another day of it, but, just when it looked as though you could not make it, God removed the trouble. Some of us have experienced truly miraculous things in our lives that have no explanation other than “God was at work.” In these days of health concerns, I still believe that sickness and disease are included in God’s promise of healing. I do not believe that God’s Word teaches that individuals have the ability to heal of their own accord, but I do believe in God’s promises that He is a God of healing. In Exodus God used Moses to talk about sickness and healing. He indicated that the Israelites’ sickness and disease was the result of sin. Today our bodies are under the sentence of death because of sin as well. Our bodies are left under the sentence of death by divine purpose, to remind us of the effects and consequences of sin. If Jesus had not redeemed us from sin, we would have to suffer eternal death in hell. God has wisely left bodily sickness in us, sickness that will eventually bring bodily death, to constantly remind us what he has done for us in redemption, to make us both grateful and humble. People get sick and die, young and old, because we all are sinners. But those who are redeemed by the blood of Christ and saved by his grace have nothing to fear from either sickness or death.
When we see the healing hand of God after we have been sick and graciously restored to health, we should never attribute praise solely to the medicine we have taken, the doctors who have treated us, or to our health plan or government. It is God who chooses to heal, and God should be praised. James told the sick to use both prayer and the anointing of oil for the healing of their sick bodies. In both instances God used people, but it is God that heals. I certainly do not know the answers to the current health crisis, and the solutions for how to provide care for all the people who can’t afford it. I do know that sickness and hardship can bring people to a place in their life where they have nowhere to turn but to their Creator. When Jesus was on the earth, he healed many sick people, but in every healing, He taught them about the time when He will give them perfect health and eternal life. I Corinthians 15:51-57, “We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Of course, we should continue to seek to help people with their health issues, but more importantly, in our compassion for them, we should point them the One who can provide them with the ultimate health care option, ETERNAL LIFE, through Jesus Christ.
Dr. Andrews, Ph.D.