Sermon Notes: God Our Greatest Physician
Many of you are here because some unfortunate illness or injury brought you here. So it is perhaps helpful if we talk about God and healing. It is easy to think about turning to God for healing in the spiritual sense. It is for many people a little more unexpected to turn to God in hopes of physical healing. This is the topic of today’s lesson.
Before we turn to scripture which is of course our more important text. Let’s first look at the words of St. Benedict who said,
“ Before all, and above all, attention should be paid to the care of the sick, so that they shall be served as if they were Christ himself.”
Benedict obviously taught that we should place a very high priority on the care of the sick among us. He also calls for a very high standard in that care saying “they will be served as if they were Christ himself.” I want to think about this for a minute. We have all seen cases where some VIP comes through the E.R. We have seen how every resource is marshaled to attend to their condition. Can you even imagine if it were known that Christ himself lay on that bed how the world’s greatest doctors, and finest equipment would be made available ? Benedict knew that not everyone would be fortunate enough to have this level of care, yet he taught that our goal should be that every person’s care come as close to this ideal as possible.
How should we act when someone near us is feeling badly. Let’s now turn to God’s word and what we are told in,
“If any of you are sick they should call for the elders of the church, and the elders should pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. Prayer that comes from faith will heal the sick, for the Lord will restore them to health. And if they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”
In this verse you can see the priority scripture places on the healing of the sick. Even though we can and should go directly to God with our needs, God’s word says when we are sick we should call upon the leaders of the church to gain their help in receiving his healing grace. Also notice that this verse speaks of the power of our faith. This is why it is important that we on a daily basis work to strengthen our faith. So that in those times when we need it, our faith will be there and it will be as strong as we need it to be.
We also see the connection between our faith in God and our health very early in the Bible. Look with me at the words of,
“ If you worship the Lord your God the Lord will bless your bread and your water. I will take sickness away from you, and no woman will miscarry or be infertile in your land. I’ll let you live a full long life.”
So it can be said that good health to those who worship him, and have faith in them is one of God’s earliest promises. To understand better how this works it helps to understand that a strong faith makes us happier and more at peace. To understand how this translates into being healthier, and living longer consider the words of,
“ A joyful heart helps healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
So anything we do to allow God’s word to buoy our hearts not only makes us stronger and healthier spiritually, but aids in our physical health as well.
There are those that ask that if God will heal us, why do we need doctors, and hospitals etc. Even Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying that God knew the worthlessness of most medicines. The fact is that even in today’s modern healthcare many medicines only make the patient feel better, and actually cure nothing. There are even those who would argue that we don’t need them at all. I respect the beliefs of those who feel this way, but I also disagree with them.
To me, to say that we have no need for doctors, or hospitals ignores the whole concept of personal gifts. God places each of us in this world for different specific reasons. He matches these reasons to the specific gifts that he gives each of us. This is why he created us as unique individuals. So that in providing us each other, he has provided for most of our needs.
It has been my experience that God many times works through his people. So that by turning away a skilled physician, or other healthcare provider with their God given healing talents, we may be turning aside God himself.
God’s goals are not always our goals. Our understanding is not God’s understanding. Healing us may not mean to God what it means to us. However God’s word is clear, through our faith in him, God will heal us !
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- 3 Steps toward Healing (richstevenson.org)