December 14, 2013 Lots of talk, debate, confusion and general angst these days about healthcare in general and Obamacare in particular. This post has been rattling about in my small brain for some time now as I continue to follow the public conversation, and deal with my own health related issues, and those of others I minister to here on the Central Coast of CA.
Anne and I are not facing any significant health issues personally of late. But we were one of those couples that received a letter some months ago from Anthem Blue Cross, whom we have had our medical insurance through for almost 20 years, stating that our monthly payment would be going from $403.00 a month to over $1,200.00 a month in January 2014 – if we choose to stay with Anthem Blue Cross and go with the policy or plan they are suggesting for us – in light of the “Affordable” Care Act kicking in.
Because of having lived in this small coastal region for 20 years, and thus being in relationship with more and more people, we are constantly being asked to pray for someone fighting some significant battle with their health, whether it be cancer, or cardiac issues, or whatever.
Few things in life demand our full attention and focus like losing our health and risking possibly even death as a result, or losing our job or insurance. So how do we navigate all of this – especially in light of the ever increasing mess our health care industry (including medical insurance) is in these days?
This article is not about Obamacare. But one of the driving reasons President Obama has fought for this for our nation is because he is convinced one of the greatest needs of our nation is for every person and family to have medical insurance. I would like to suggest there is a far greater need, though I am obviously not against health insurance.
This morning I was reading about King Asa of Judah in II Chronicles – – a king who started out well, but did not end well. Ch. 16 describes the reasons for his downfall, ending with his final failure. And believe it or not, it had to do with the way he handled his personal health crisis. Vs. 12 says “in the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians.”
Now God is not against doctors or our seeking their help. He even had a doctor named Luke write one of the gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and the historical account of the birth and expansion of the early church called “The book of Acts”.
So on what basis did God expect Asa to first look to Him for his health needs/healing??
Well if you get nothing else from my thoughts this morning, please hear this: From the very beginning God has always cared about our bodies as well as our souls, and I’m not just speaking of those who belong to Him. The very first account of someone being healed (Genesis ch. 20) was all the pagan women of Gerar including the wives of their King – Abimilech – whose wombs God had closed so they could not bear children – because of their capture of Abraham’s wife Sarah. Vs. 17 says, “Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, so that they bore children.”
Early on in the process of God forming a people (Israel) for His own purposes after delivering them from the Egyptian army via parting the Red Sea – He revealed Himself to them by saying, “…I the Lord, am your Healer” (Exodus 15:26).
The Bible is filled with stories of people being healed by God (usually through others), or of specific guidelines for how to live a healthy life/take care of our bodies whether regarding nutrition, fitness or one’s sex life, etc. (This is one of the purposes of the book of Leviticus btw). 25 % of the material in the four gospel accounts of Jesus’s life and ministry have to do with His healing ministry. The apostle John in his third letter to those he had ministered to said these words, “Beloved I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” God has always been concerned about our bodies/health, and not just our souls. BTW – note the connection between the two in this verse.
I’m well aware that there is a wide divergence of opinion in the body of Christ about how God heals. Methods and formulas are not my concern in this article. My concern is that we know deep in our spirits that no one cares more about our health and bodies than God does, and thus He should be the first one we look to when we have questions or need counsel for pursuing medical attention, medical insurance, nutrition/fitness counsel, etc. Should I take this pill? Should I call the doctor? And if so, which doctor? Should I get health insurance, and if so with whom? Should I hire a personal trainer? Should I floss? Should I take a nap?
If we are not convinced God cares about such things, I can promise you we will not look in His direction for such things, and thus we risk the error King Asa made of placing our trust in someone or some thing rather than in the One who made us and knows us and cares about us far more than any other. “Father please reveal yourself to all of us increasingly as our Healer, and thank you that you care for every aspect of our lives – in Jesus’s name. Amen” (I Peter 5:7)