Saturday, January 7, 2017

Ancient Wisdom On When To See A Doctor

Sirach 38: 9-14 offers some sound advice
“My child, when you get sick, don't ignore it. Pray to the Lord, and he will make you well. Confess all your sins and determine that in the future you will live a righteous life. Offer incense and a grain offering, as fine as you can afford. Then call the doctor—for the Lord created him—and keep him at your side… There are times when you have to depend on his skill.”

Some fifty Virginia Conference leaders attended a November 4 seminar on “Healing Ministries in the Church” held at Weavers Mennonite Church. 

As a pastor and a mental health provider, I was especially interested in hearing more about the intersection of faith-based and medical-science-based approaches to healing. 

Willard Swartley of the Anabaptist Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, shared from his study and personal experiences in healing and deliverance ministries, and introduced us to the text in the Apocryphal Book of Sirach. 

For much of history, healing by spiritual means was the primary option available. In the passage above, written in the inter-testamental period, the use of medicine and prayer receive equal attention. Today most of us see science-based medicine as the primary option, with prayer and anointing of oil as secondary.

At Family Life Resource Center we are committed to both, partnering with pastors and other members of congregations whenever appropriate and as requested. Whether one’s illness is primarily physical or emotional, involves a disease affecting the brain or any other part of the body, we believe there is benefit in bringing together every possible means of healing to bear on the ill person.

Also, we want to help people utilize all the personal assets they bring with them, including the wisdom they have gained from their own life experiences and the “first aid” they are offered by their family, friends and members of their congregational family. Professional caregivers should then be readily available when ordinary lay care isn’t enough.

It indeed takes a whole village, with all of its healing gifts, to help us all maintain good emotional, physical and spiritual health.

A Healthy and Blessed New Year!
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