June 21, 2014

Proverbs 18:14 A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? It is very interesting that this many centuries before anyone thought of “psychology,” this insight was recorded in the Bible. Today doctors will tell you that the patient’s attitude is a prime predictor of their recovery, either positively or negatively. We have discovered psychosomatic disease, in which the symptoms are real enough, and can even be fatal, but the source is in the person’s soul rather than their body. We have also found that, just as the Bible says in several places, a positive attitude is a prime component of good health. That’s not to say that every cheerful, optimistic person is going to live to at least 100, or even that every negative person is going to die before their time, but it is to say that we are far more than organic machines. Today an increasing number of doctors (though not yet enough) are genuinely treating patients, rather than just treating diseases. Some of the most promising treatments for cancer are focusing on helping the immune system identify and destroy the cancer cells, without damaging healthy tissue. However, that’s just reinforcing something God built into our bodies in the first place. We have a lot more we need to understand about how we are put together, but that needs to start with listening to the One who created us in the first place. After all, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) I’ve done a lot of hospital visitation over the years, and the truth of this verse has certainly been impressed on me. My aim in visiting the sick is always to give them hope in Christ. That’s difficult if they aren’t believers, but sometimes their illness is exactly what they need to open their hearts to the Lord. The other side of that is people who aren’t physically ill or injured, yet who have a damaged spirit. That’s really harder to deal with, as this verse says. I can speak the truth in love to them and I can pray for them, but their recovery depends on their own choices. Often the best thing I can do is help them understand that those choices exist, and that by God’s grace they can choose life and health. My enemy is the liar who clouds their minds; it is never the person himself, however frustrated I might get at times. I am never to think that I must, or even can, “fix” the person, but I must always remember that nothing is impossible for God.

Father, You know the various people who came to mind as I wrote that. Thank You for allowing me to participate in the healing of so many. I do pray for those who are struggling right now, that they would be able to lift their eyes off of whatever the devil is showing them, whether it is real or not, and fix them on Jesus, so that they may receive hope first of all, and with it faith leading to victory, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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