I read of a heartbroken story of Kara, 11 years old, who died because her parents refused to bring her to doctors when she was really sick. The parents are staunch believers in a God who heals and there is no need for doctors and hospitals. They also believe that the prayer of faith is the only answer to their daughter’s healing. At the end, the daughter suffered greatly and died as the family and friends gathered to pray for her at the house. The parents are now being charged by police for murder and the court trial has begun in the United States.
This double tragedy, the death of their beloved daughter and perhaps imprisonment for the parents could have been avoided. I am not here to judge their sincere faith that God really can heal and indeed God is healing people everywhere in the world. But I am terribly saddened and shocked at the teachings they received from religious people that doctors and hospitals are not of God! Is faith everything?
What does the Bible say about this? Yes, the Bible says that people who are sick must be prayed for by the elders of the church and that healing can occur (James 5:14-16). Yes, God still does miracles. There is no denial of that. But all of us must admit that God does not heal everybody just because one has faith. For God’s sake, even the mighty prophet Elisha died from illness! Did Elisha pray for his illness? Of course he would have!
Miracles are just one aspect of God’s ways to bring people closer to Him or that salvation may arise. The other way that God brings healing is through doctors who use God-given medicine and wisdom. Luke, the writer of the gospel is one of them.
Jesus did not scold the woman with the issue of blood after she spent everything on doctors before she was healed by Jesus! She could have died if not for doctors who gave her medicine for her bleeding no matter how temporary!
Jesus Himself said, although his context was different, that the healthy does not need a doctor but the sick (Luke 5:31).
Paul introduced Luke as “the doctor” (Colossians 4:14) and he also told Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach because of its medicinal value (1 Timothy 5:23).
I think what God wanted us to do when we are sick is first and foremost, to pray for healing. And if sickness persists, go to see a doctor for healing. Anyway, the instruments and medicine the doctor used all belong to God! As well as the doctor’s wisdom!
Faith is not a licence to twist the arm of God!
PS – Even in Malaysia, I heard of religious people who employed faith as the only way to healing.