As science progresses and makes its contribution to medicine, new drugs are discovered and sounder treatments replace outdated ones. We certainly don’t bleed patients anymore, nor do we put “mentally ill” patients in dank institutions for most of their lives. The question for Christians however is, do we make science the god of our healing? Where is our faith?
According to some recent studies, having faith that medicine or a particular form of therapy will help can strengthen its ability to do so, even if the medicine is actually a placebo or therapy is actually a different type of therapy than originally thought. Other studies have found that people with strong religious beliefs can sometimes heal more fully with or without medical or psychological intervention, and are less likely to relapse. Faith is a powerful thing.
So where as a Christian should we put our faith? The answer seems straight forward enough: God, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet there’s a catch. We have to make sure our faith is not in a self-generated fantasy of a healing God of our choosing. Our image of God is not God.
The Church teaches we are to use all good things of this world to help heal us. God works through these things. Ultimately however, we need to understand that it is God who is doing the healing. Further, if we are not healed in the way we had hoped we are called to recognize the ways in which we have been healed. Sometimes healing comes in the form of transformed relationships, increased virtue without really trying, deep peace and acceptance in the middle of suffering, or a more acute sense of compassion.
Let God be God. He knows what kind of healing is best.