“Christ’s servants are the channel of His working, and through them He desires to exercise His healing power.”
“The Scripture says that ‘men ought always to pray, and not to faint’ (Luke 18:1); and if ever there is a time when they feel their need of prayer, it is when strength fails and life itself seems slipping from their grasp. Often those who are in health forget the wonderful mercies continued to them day by day, year after year, and they render no tribute of praise to God for His benefits. But when sickness comes, God is remembered. When human strength fails, men feel their need of divine help. And never does our merciful God turn from the soul that in sincerity seeks Him for help. He is our refuge in sickness as in health.
“ ‘Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.’ Psalm 103:13, 14. . . .
“God is just as willing to restore the sick to health now as when the Holy Spirit spoke these words through the psalmist. And Christ is the same compassionate physician now that He was during His earthly ministry. In Him there is healing balm for every disease, restoring power for every infirmity. His disciples in this time are to pray for the sick as verily as the disciples of old prayed. And recoveries will follow; for ‘the prayer of faith shall save the sick.’ We have the Holy Spirit’s power, the calm assurance of faith, that can claim God’s promises. The Lord’s promise, ‘They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover’ (Mark 16:18), is just as trustworthy now as in the days of the apostles. It presents the privilege of God’s children, and our faith should lay hold of all that it embraces. Christ’s servants are the channel of His working, and through them He desires to exercise His healing power. It is our work to present the sick and suffering to God in the arms of our faith. We should teach them to believe in the Great Healer.
“The Saviour would have us encourage the sick, the hopeless, the afflicted, to take hold upon His strength. Through faith and prayer the sickroom may be transformed into a Bethel. In word and deed, physicians and nurses may say, so plainly that it cannot be misunderstood, ‘God is in this place’ to save, and not to destroy. Christ desires to manifest His presence in the sickroom, filling the hearts of physicians and nurses with the sweetness of His love. If the life of the attendants upon the sick is such that Christ can go with them to the bedside of the patient, there will come to him the conviction that the compassionate Saviour is present, and this conviction will itself do much for the healing of both the soul and the body.
“And God hears prayer. Christ has said, ‘If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it.’ Again He says, ‘If any man serve Me, him will My Father honor.’ John 14:14; 12:26. If we live according to His word, every precious promise He has given will be fulfilled to us. We are undeserving of His mercy, but as we give ourselves to Him, He receives us. He will work for and through those who follow Him.
“But only as we live in obedience to His word can we claim the fulfillment of His promises. The psalmist says, ‘If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.’ Psalm 66:18. If we render to Him only a partial, halfhearted obedience, His promises will not be fulfilled to us.
“In the word of God we have instruction relative to special prayer for the recovery of the sick. But the offering of such prayer is a most solemn act, and should not be entered upon without careful consideration. In many cases of prayer for the healing of the sick, that which is called faith is nothing less than presumption.
“Many persons bring disease upon themselves by their self-indulgence. They have not lived in accordance with natural law or the principles of strict purity. Others have disregarded the laws of health in their habits of eating and drinking, dressing, or working. Often some form of vice is the cause of feebleness of mind or body. Should these persons gain the blessing of health, many of them would continue to pursue the same course of heedless transgression of God’s natural and spiritual laws, reasoning that if God heals them in answer to prayer, they are at liberty to continue their unhealthful practices and to indulge perverted appetite without restraint. If God were to work a miracle in restoring these persons to health, He would be encouraging sin.
“It is labor lost to teach people to look to God as a healer of their infirmities, unless they are taught also to lay aside unhealthful practices. In order to receive His blessing in answer to prayer, they must cease to do evil and learn to do well. Their surroundings must be sanitary, their habits of life correct. They must live in harmony with the law of God, both natural and spiritual.”1
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Christ was bound up in all branches of the work. He did not make any division. He did not feel that He was infringing on physicians when He healed the sick. He proclaimed the truth, and when the sick came to Him for healing, He asked them if they believed that He could make them whole. He was just as ready to lay His hands in healing on the sick and afflicted as He was to preach the gospel. He was just as much at home in this work as in proclaiming the truth, for healing the sick is a part of the gospel.
“To take people right where they are, whatever their position, whatever their condition, and help them in every way possible, this is ministry. It may be necessary for ministers to go into the homes of the sick, and say, I am ready to help you and I will do the best I can. I am not a physician, but I am a minister, and I like to minister to the sick and afflicted. Those who are sick in body are nearly always sick in soul, and when the soul is sick, the body is made sick.
“Christ’s work for the paralytic is an illustration of the way in which we are to work. This man had been told by his friends of the mighty healer, and he had faith to believe that he could be healed. His friends carried him to the house where Jesus was teaching, but the crowd was so great that they could not find entrance. Then the sick man suggested that they remove part of the roof, and let him down into the room. This they did, and when Jesus saw the sufferer lying before him, what was His first work? It was to give him peace of mind. The Saviour knew that the paralytic had been tortured by the suggestions of the priests that God had cast him off for his sins.
“ ‘Son, thy sins be forgiven thee,’ were Christ’s first words. This was what the sick man needed. Peace and joy filled his heart. Some present began to murmur, saying in their hearts, Who can forgive sins but God only? Then, that they might know that the Son of man had power to forgive sins, Christ said to the sick man, ‘Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way unto thine house.’
“Thus the Saviour has bound together the work of preaching the truth and healing the sick, and we are never to divorce them. Christ blended ministry and healing, and there is to be no more separation in our work than there was in His.
“There is to be no division between the medical missionary work and the gospel ministry. Medical missionary work is to be to the third angel’s message as the right arm to the body. Both are to work in harmony. Then the salvation of the Lord will be revealed.”2