Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Lord is Involved in Physical Healing

Let us not forget that the Lord is involved in physical, and well as emotional and spiritual healing. Though abuse typically leaves emotional and spiritual scars, sometimes abuse leaves physical scars, and sometimes the abused person forgets that Jesus is the Great Physician. In addition, sometime we are afflicted with physical ailments and pain not related to abuse and again find ourselves asking the question of why. I believe physical healing happens-frequently-and it's something that we should honestly seek under certain conditions. The Scriptures speak much about some diseases resulting from separation or broken relationships with God, others, and ourselves. This is one reason we need to know each other in the body of Christ in depth, not just superficially on a Sunday-to-Sunday basis. I also believe some diseases are a direct result of sin. The see precisely what I mean, study the following passages: Deuteronomy 7:11-15; 28:15-22; Psalm 31:9-10; 38:3-7; Isaiah 5:13-14. Dorothy, though, is an example of genuine physical healing. She experienced several tragic events in her life. She was bedridden for several years with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. She also experienced a heart attack and breast cancer before age thirty-seven. She took prescription medications for her pain, and was severely overweight. With all these conditions, she chose to become angry and bitter. She came to our clinic full of bitterness and on the verge of a breakdown. After some time in counseling, she wrote me, "I recently repented of my bitterness and anger. The Lord set me free as I forgave those who so deeply hurt me." She also repented of gluttony and changed her diet. Nine months after her confession of sin, she had lost eighty pounds and lowered her cholesterol by 150 points. She told me, "With my doctor's blessing, I have stopped taking the prescription medication I had relied on for years. I now walk, run, work, and enjoy the life Christ has given me. I am no longer angry and bitter. I now have the joy of the Lord." Such physical healing often happens as people deal with the lies and sin in their lives that Satan uses to keep them in bondage. Before her repentance, Dorothy was angry and bitter toward God, herself, and others. The effect of sustained bitterness was destroying her physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Repentance brought her God's comfort and healing. In physical sickness as well as in anything else, we must not assign to the enemy what is not his. Many of our problems come form our willful disobedience. If a man commits adultery or visits a prostitute, he runs the risk of incurring a sexually transmitted disease. If a Christian drinks alcohol to excess or smokes cigarettes, he runs obvious physical risks. Consuming too much fat and cholesterol, or even gluttony, can result in all sorts of physical problems. In some cases, God may actually "judge" him or her by inflicting the disease because of the sin. Sometimes physical healing will be only partial; other times no healing will result. In either case, God has not been stumped. Instead He has chosen for His glory and good purposes to let the affliction remain. We need look no further than the great apostle Paul to see a godly follower of Christ continue to suffer with some unnamed "thorn in the flesh" despite "plead[ing] with the Lord three times that it might depart from me." The reason for the pain remaining? So the apostle might learn to depend on God's power in weakness, so "that the power of Christ" could be shown in him (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-9). This was what happened with Melody. She was involved n a car wreck that changed her life. At age nineteen her car fishtailed on wet pavement, then rolled down an embankment. She was thrown from the car, and the car hit her head as it rolled down the embankment. Her skull and right side of her face suffered multiple fractures. The doctors told her family she would not live because of the damage to her brain. Her lungs collapsed and she was on life support. When she didn't die, the doctors said she would be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life. She remained uncommunicative and in a state in infancy for six months; then she finally began to recover. The final word from the doctors was, she would have to live in a long term care facility. When she was ready to be released from the hospital to such a facility, her parents took Melody home against the doctor's advice. "God gave my parents a nineteen-year-old baby," Melody later explained. "The only thing I could do was eat, My mother gave me physical therapy, taught me how to walk and talk-she even potty trained me." A remarkable recovery occurred during the next eighteen months. After five lengthy surgeries, Melody's face and skull were reconstructed. In the end, Melody relearned the abilities to walk, talk, sing, and work. She considers her major recovery a miracle. The only signs of her trauma's are blindness in her right eye and weakness in her left side. "The devil wanted to destroy my life," she said, "but the Lord turned this experience around in a way that gives glory to Him. Because my understanding is more childlike, I am able to help more people. God has taught me to trust Him in many new ways. I'm happy to say God's glory has shown through in all my trials." Melody believes the physical loss after the accident was helpful. "I believe God allowed me to go through this trial to teach me how to better encourage people. My trial was twofold: to bring me to a place of full surrender to the Lord, and to show forth God's glory." Melody has heard Satan's lies shrieking in her mind, "What kind of God lets this happen to His children?" She could easily have reacted to this tragedy with bitterness and anger. Instead, she chose to walk with Christ in victory. Today, she sings in various churches as part of her family ministry team. She gives her testimony in an almost childlike voice using childlike terms. People, especially children and those who hurt, find Melody one of the most approachable people they've ever met. Everywhere she goes, she offers encouragement and the testimony that "God is with you in your pain, Look to Him and He will get you through it to victory." Would she have leaned these things apart from her accident and her agonizing medical problems? There is no answer. But the truth is that she did learn these truths through her accident and recovery and can praise God for it. That is a sign of a Christians who has done spiritual battle and found success through Christ. Melody learned through her accident that hidden treasures often come in ugly boxes. Do you seek healing from God in some way? Has Satan buffeted you on some level like he did with the apostle Paul, placing a "thorn" in your flesh? My word to you is that God is a God of healing. The same apostle Paul who could not fully understand his thorny allocation still accepted it, and in another letter wrote, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). God does heal the brokenhearted and the broken-bodied. I believe there is hope for anyone who will genuinely seek Christ. Perhaps your body will not achieve complete healing in this life. That doesn't matter. For you will be perfect in the next one. And for those who have listened to Satan's lies and become entrapped and sealed in them, I say with Melody, you too can break out of those boxes simply by trusting Christ, learning His Word, and seeking His love at every turn of life. When that love and joy fills your heart, no tragedy can overshadow it. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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