Christ, Our Fellowship, Part 16
Our last post was used to enforce the idea that being in good physical health goes a long way in being in good spiritual health. In other words, our actual health can affect the clarity of our thinking. Many illnesses often promote fatigue and even depression, not to mention symptoms like high blood pressure, diabetes, and more, which can be deadly if left untreated. It is really important to be in control of things where our bodies are concerned and do what we can to ensure that we are as healthy as we can be.
Avoiding foods and beverages that rob us of our health (by adding on weight, etc.), is a very practical way to make sure that we are giving ourselves every advantage. It’s important and I hope you think so as well. I’ll also state that sometimes, due to circumstances in a person’s life, ill-health cannot be avoided because of things that people are born with or experience through accidents at some point. It always amazes me to see people who suffer from serious maladies, yet have such sweet, gentle spirits about them, one which honors God as they continue to seek Him in spite of the health problems they endure.
Let’s look to Scripture for more areas where the Bible teaches us about Christ, our fellowship, and how that relates to areas of our physical or even mental health. It is interesting to search the Scriptures to determine the path Jesus took in healing many diseases and illnesses that affected people during the time He physically walked the earth.
Who does not want to be healed today when suffering from something that the medical community seems stymied by? Today, there are many illnesses that are directly related to immune disorders and many medical practitioners are concluding that the underlying cause of many to most of them (if not all of them) may be retroviruses. Unfortunately, while there is nothing known today that can fully cure a person from an illness created by a retrovirus, there are things that can be done and people have responded well to treatment plans. Illnesses like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and non-HIV AIDS-type diseases respond to a combination of prescription medications and supplements (along with avoiding certain foods), are often made to go into a form of remission allowing the sufferer to enjoy a strong sense of normalcy in their lives that they either never experienced or had not in a long time.
But why doesn’t Jesus just heal people instantaneously today as He did when He walked this earth a few thousand years ago? Wouldn’t that make life so much easier if we could just pray to Him in faith and see and experience healing in response to our request within seconds, minutes, or hours?
Aside from all the theological reasons why Jesus might not heal everyone today, I think we do Him a major disservice when we believe that the healing must come supernaturally and instantly, as opposed to Him working through the medical community over time. Consider the fact that medicine was virtually non-existent during Christ’s time or at the very least, understand that society today is leap years ahead of medical discoveries and innovations from Jesus’ day.
Is it wrong to believe that Jesus only uses the supernatural to heal? I think so and as someone who suffers from an immune disorder myself, I would love to believe that Jesus wants to heal me instantly via the supernatural. Unfortunately, this is not the case, but it has done one very important thing that people who were/are healed instantly often cannot relate to. It forces me to use my faith over a period of time and in a sustained manner. People who were able to physically go up to Him and ask Him specifically for a particular healing still needed faith to believe that He was going to heal them, but for them, it was often much more instantaneous. In today’s world, for someone like myself, it is an extended effort of prayer, believing, followed by more prayer, undergirded by more faith until I arrive to a point where the full benefit of the medical community guides me to a place of healing. Is God guiding in that situation? I have to believe He is.
Let’s look at Scripture. Here is John 5:6-9.
6 When Jesus saw him lying there and when he realized that the man had been disabled a long time already, he said to him, “Do you want to become well?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am trying to get into the water, someone else goes down there before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Stand up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 Immediately the man was healed, and he picked up his mat and started walking. (Now that day was a Sabbath.)
Notice the man had to do something. Jesus gave the man simple instructions, which were to 1) stand up, 2) pick up his mat, and 3) walk. Faith was actually required by the man to perform those things. The man spoke to Jesus telling Him what He wanted. He wanted to be healed. Jesus provided the path to that healing. The man was already on the ground. He couldn’t walk and hadn’t be able to walk for a long time. Yet, he had to receive Jesus’ instructions in order for the healing to occur.
Jesus told the man what to do and we can assume that had the man not followed through (by not getting up), he would not have enjoyed the healing that Jesus provided. But the man did follow through with faith believing that what Jesus told him to do he would be able to do. Here was this stranger (Jesus) who gave some instructions to the lame man and the lame man obeyed. For him, the healing was instantaneous once he obeyed, but it most definitely required faith.
Here’s another example from John 9:6-7.
6 Having said this, he spat on the ground and made some mud with the saliva. He smeared the mud on the blind man’s eyes 7 and said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated “sent”). So the blind man went away and washed, and came back seeing.
We learn from the context that this man had been born blind from birth. The disciples wanted to know who had sinned – the man or his parents. Jesus pointed out that the reason this man was blind so that God in Christ would be glorified. It is interesting the way Jesus healed the man. In my opinion, Jesus actually created new eyes for the man. He spit onto the ground, made a mud salve and rubbed it into the man’s eyes. He then gave the man some simple instructions. He was to go to the pool of Siloam and wash his eyes.
Interesting that Jesus told the blind man to go to the Pool of Siloam and wash. He didn’t seem concerned that the blind man wouldn’t find his way. Blind from birth, the man could probably find his way with ease to the pool or other places in Jerusalem. He went, washed, and was healed. He obeyed Jesus and the reason he obeyed was because he believed or had faith in Jesus. The Bible has many examples of this type of healing.
Several thousand years later Jesus is not walking physically among us. There are no apostles walking among us who have the gift of healing either. However, we can and should still go to Jesus about our health issues! When we do, we need to be ready to “hear” His instructions and be ready to obey them.
Going to a doctor is not a sign of a lack of faith. I have come to the conclusion that when we experience health issues of an unknown nature, God may send us down several paths to find “healing” that is decidedly not necessarily supernatural in origin. All knowledge comes from God though, doesn’t it? Advances made within the medical community came from God in the first place. He chose to reveal those truths and discoveries through individuals.
My immune disorder began in earnest in 1996. I remember the symptoms quite well. Itching, fatigue, muscle soreness, swollen gums, teeth cracking (needing crowns), hair follicles dying with hair falling out, leaving scarring alopecia in its wake, brain fog, and many more. As you can imagine, these were very unpleasant for me. What I thought was gone has actually come back in the past few years with the focus on itching, fatigue, brain fog, muscle stiffness, and a few others.
But over the past few years, I’ve learned to eat correctly by avoiding foods that aren’t good for me. I’m now gluten-free and I avoid anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. I’ve lost weight and started getting myself in shape physically. I’ve begun taking quality supplements and I exercise. In short, I’ve learned more about my body and how to treat it so that I’m not abusing it physically. Am I there yet? No, and if you stop to consider it took me years to get to the point where my body became ill (they call it lichen planopilara, but that is only a name for the symptoms, with no real underlying cause or cure), so it will take several more years to recuperate as best as I can.
I’ve discovered at least some of the things that I need to do to help myself. It would do me no good to have Jesus supernaturally heal me unless I also made changes to my diet. If He simply healed me without me learning anything, it wouldn’t be long before I began to experience the same type of problems. Change needs to happen.
Medicine has also discovered that in cases like mine, anti-viral prescription medications go a long way in eradicating the symptoms so that people like me can live a fairly normal life without dealing with the chronic fatigue, itching, brain fog and more. Over the centuries, God has literally raised up brilliant people to make the type of discoveries in medicine that help people like me.
Through it all, it has taken faith and perseverance. Because this illness/malady has occurred over nearly two decades, I’ve been forced to rely on that faith to know and believe that God does want me well. He has simply (and clearly) chosen to make me well by using my effort to study and perseverance. I can look back and see how my faith waned here and there until several years ago, I began to pray earnestly again that He would heal me. Yes, at the time, I was looking for a supernatural healing, but God chose a different path, one that forced me to use faith more consistently over the long haul. I can see that I am getting somewhere though.
Though my healing has not been instantaneous, I believe the healing will come. I will at least get to a point where the inconveniencing symptoms will one day be in abeyance, allowing me to live every day with the same amount of vigor, clarity, and consistency that comes and goes now.
Of course, ultimately, I will be completely healed when I leave this life, but I believe because of this malady, I’ve had two choices; 1) to ignore it and just try to deal with the symptoms the best I can or 2) throw myself on Him daily, trusting Him to guide me toward the resolution for this illness. Having to depend upon Him to supply what is lacking in me has created the pattern to go to Him and then trust Him for direction and outcome.
All of this has begun to shine the light on the fact that my trusting Him – even though the hoped for outcome has not nor will be immediately supernatural – provides the catalyst for the hoped for healing that will eventually come. It’s probably better for me this way because if my healing came instantaneously, I might be like one of the ten lepers who experienced instant healing, then went off and ignored Jesus after that.
That’s what we see in Luke 17:11-19. Ten lepers were healed and only one of them came back to thank Jesus and to worship Him. The other nine? Gone, with no thought about the One who healed them. Jesus has provided me with an illness that forces me to return to Him on a daily basis. I believe He does heal me via doctors, prescriptions, foods, and supplements. I honestly need to rely on Him on a daily basis for these things and because of it, I tend to have fellowship with Him. I go to Him with my needs, concerns, and wants, and stay for the fellowship. I have given Him many things and learned to trust Him for outcomes.
We were made to fellowship with God (1 Corinthians 1:9). That is our primary purpose. God wants us to come to Him, to talk with Him, to rely on Him, to understand that apart from Him, we can do nothing. He knows our frame. Sometimes, the best way to ensure that we come to Him on a daily basis is to give us less than quality health so that we are forced to trust and rely on Him. Too many do not do this. Too many simply complain about their “lot” in life, but continue to eat the foods and practice the things that contributed to their ill-health in the first place. In at least some cases, poor health is totally caused by what we ingest and how we live. God wants better for us and that can often be a process.
I hope you will see that we can all improve our health. Often, God works alongside of us to accomplish that and since our terrible health didn’t happen overnight, it won’t be fixed overnight either. Nonetheless, God wants it improved and He will come alongside to help us in that endeavor. He’s not taking the long road to punish us but to fellowship with us.
However God draws us to Him, we need to learn to enjoy that fellowship.
Entry filed under: christianity, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: 1 corinthians 1:9, christ our fellowship, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, john 5, john 9, luke 11, physical health, retrovirus, spiritual health, supernatural healing, ten lepers.