What is your take on health?
Are you a prescription-drug junkie, an organic superfood aficionado or somewhere in between?
There is a lot of conflicting media out there about exercise, nutrition, medicine and 'what is good for you'. There is also an enormous range of health and wellbeing services on offer; extending from the conventional and complementary to the kooky.
What is God's take on health?
Scripture is very clear that we are to honour God with our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, and to trust him prayerfully to provide for our daily needs to avoid the damaging consequences of stress and anxiety. Jesus also recognised the place of health professionals (Mark chapter 2, verse 17).
In addition to affirming the importance of sensible living for the maintenance of good health, Jesus demonstrated that God also loves to delight his children with supernatural healing, and he gave this task to his disciples:
'Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighbourhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.'
(Matthew chapter 10, verses 5b-8, The Message translation)
An unusual prescription
So how did Jesus go about it? He didn't pray for people or give them a prescription for drugs, supplements or herbs like a regular physician. This is what he did instead:
- Placed his hands on people or held their hands
- People who touched him were healed
- Ordered illnesses and demons to leave
- Told a blind man, 'see'
- Told a man with a crippled hand, 'stretch out your hand'
- Told a woman with a twisted spine, 'you are free'
- Told sick people, 'your faith has healed you'
- Told paraplegics and dead people to get up and walk
- Put mud on blind eyes, spit on mute tongues and stuck his fingers in deaf ears
Is this pattern so unusual for God?
This odd approach was nothing new. In 2 Kings, chapter 5, God healed Naaman from his skin disease when the prophet Elisha sent his servant out with instructions for Naaman to bathe in the river Jordan seven times, and Naaman followed the instructions. How bizarre! It seems that God is quite fond of ordering the impossible to happen, and getting what he orders!
What does he ask of us?
Jesus commands his disciples to cast out demons and heal the sick as he did. How can we know the strategy for healing each condition?
Jesus emphasised that we should first be baptised in the Holy Spirit before we go out to witness his power at work (Acts, chapter 1, verse 8). And like Jesus, we should only do what we see the Father doing (John, chapter 5, verse 19), being prepared to step out in obedience, no matter how bizarre the instruction might seem!
The Father will always show us words and actions that are consistent with Truth and Love (respect) and that are not physically dangerous, but sometimes they could seem more than a little strange or embarrassing.
For example, I have seen tense back muscles released with someone literally 'pushing' freedom into them, and another back recover range of movement when the person bent down to touch their toes, in faith. I have seen a cough stop after touching the person's throat and commanding calm into their oesophagus. I have even heard a first-hand account of one short leg growing to full size when commanded to do so!
The foolishness of God
It might seem counter-intuitive, but God calls us to trust him like little children, and to recognise that his 'foolishness' is wiser than the highest earthly philosophy. He wants to have fun and laugh with his kids as we do silly things with him! To be sure, babies need to learn to crawl before they walk, and being with fellow believers is a great context to practise 'doing what we see the Father doing' before we hit the streets.
Does this mean everyone will be healed? Not necessarily. As sons-of-God in training (gender inclusive), we will not get it right all/much of the time (especially at first), and only the Father knows the journey he is taking each one on. The point is not the outcome, it is the relationship; learning to partner with God.
And does this mean we shouldn't go to the doctor or ignore medical advice? No. Jesus said the sick need a physician. There is a time for every activity under heaven (Ecclesiastes, chapter 3), and we can do our part by caring for our bodies and seeking medical help. A miracle healing is an even greater testimony when doctors can certify the 'unexplainable' change with test results!
So here is the challenge: in addition to your regular health routine, consider spending a little time being 'silly' with God and with his family, asking him to show you his strategy for solving a particular problem, and having a go!
Rosanne Menacho has a keen interest in sustainable and healthy living, and enjoys learning new languages. She is studying a Master of Interpreting and Translation at Monash University and is loving every minute of it. Rosanne lives with her husband and Staffordshire terrier in the outer south-east of Melbourne, Australia.
Rosanne Menacho's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rosanne-menacho.html