Are religion and health connected miraculously?
The miracles of the Bible say yes. Experiences of many say yes.Is religion a magic wand to keep us healthy? If we always had our health restored by simply asking God for it, would we follow Him for the wrong reason? Everybody wants to go to heaven, but who is willing to die to get there?
When Jesus began his ministry He began it with miracles. In each of the four gospels healing was a large part of those miracles. From healing Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever to healing a nobleman’s son without even going to him, to “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people,” (Matthew 4:23).
In the Old Testament, there are approximately 85 miracles, about 11 of which concerned health. Of the 45 or so miracles listed in the New Testament, 21 involve miraculous healing, 4 even include the restoring the dead to life. Included in these are 5 that include healing after Jesus went back to heaven.
How do you define “miracle?” Birth is one miracle that I have witnessed, as is a sunrise, a sunset, and the way that a tiny little pill affects our health. Can they not all be called miraculous? Webster defines miracle as; 1 )“an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs,” and 2) “an unusual event, thing or accomplishment.” If we use the first definition, that narrows it down and includes the topic of this article…divine intervention in human affairs.
I have to believe that there is divine intervention in human affairs. I have to believe in divine intervention to explain the un-explainable things in our world. I have to believe in divine intervention because I believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and it includes divine interventions. I have to believe in divine intervention in order to pray. I have to believe in divine intervention in order to cope with the events in our world today. I believe in divine intervention because of some experiences; with an airplane as missionary pilot, in health situations, in myself, my family, in friends. I believe in divine intervention in human affairs. Because I believe in divine intervention, I pray for health.
However, I will never forget a friend who was confined to a wheelchair. It was in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. You wouldn’t know him anyway, but for the sake of his privacy, I’ll call him Juan (not his real name). Juan was dependent on others for everything from his food to his personal care to his transportation. A “Healer/Evangelist” came to town, rented a movie theater, and “set up shop” to heal everyone who came seeking…at least that was what the full page ad in the newspaper said. Juan was there at every service, then cried after it was all over and he was left in his wheelchair. Others had been “healed” but Juan was not. It sure seemed like no one knew any of those who had been “miraculously healed.” When the dust settled, the “healer” was labeled as a charlatan by many and Juan was still in his wheelchair.
There are in scripture as well as in modern news “fake miracles”and fraudulent miracle workers.I am not ready to say that all miracles are fraud. I am not ready to rule out divine intervention in our health. Still, even when Jesus lived and healed, soon after his departure from this world there were sick people in the temple in Jerusalem. If Jesus healed everyone who needed healing, how were there still sick people in Jerusalem soon after he left?
Every one of the people whom Jesus healed, even those who died and were restored to life, all have since died. Not one is alive today. Death is inevitable.Religion/Spirituality is not a magic wand, but we can and should use it, thus living better and probably longer lives.
We don’t want to die and do all we can to avoid it because we were not created to die, but to live for eternity. We die because sin entered into our world.
God does not give us what we can handle, but helps us handle what we get!
I close this series of articles with some of the verses I quoted the last few weeks:
“Is anyone sick? …let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”(James 5:14)
“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we may boldly say; ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’”(Hebrews 13:5,6)
“Show me your faith (spirituality) without your works (religion) and I will show you my faith (spirituality) by my works (religion).” (James 2:18)