- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Questions about Christian Life
- Published on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 19:33
Is going to the doctor a sign of weak faith?
Some forms of faith-healing teaching states that since God is capable of healing the body as an answer to our prayers it would be sinful or at least showing a lack of faith to go to the doctor. Such teaching is seriously flawed.
Do Christians eat healthy food and call it a lack of faith? Of course we don’t. We believe that a healthy diet, vitamin supplements, exercise, adequate sleep, avoidance of toxic substances such as tobacco and alcohol contribute to a long-life and disease-free lifestyle. Why would going to the doctor be any less of a sound and healthy choice? The fact that God can and does perform miracles of healing does not mean we should always expect a miracle instead of seeking the help of individuals who possess the knowledge and skill to assist us.
If the water pump in your car breaks, do you wait for God to fix it and keep driving until the engine overheats? No. You get a mechanic to replace it right away.
The Bible speaks of health care in a positive light but with the knowledge that it is limited. Isaiah 1:6 talks about binding up wounds. James 5:14 speaks of anointing the sick with oil. The Good Samaritan poured in oil and wine to the wounds of the man on the side of the road in Luke 10:34. Timothy took wine for his stomach infirmity in 1 Timothy 5:23. Revelation 3:18 says that the blind should anoint their eyes with eye salve.
Luke is the best-known doctor in the Bible. His vocabulary and mention of various illnesses mentioned in his gospel show us that he was very aware of the meager technology of his day. Although the Great Physician, Christ, was capable of healing what earthly physicians cannot, he does not condemn the use of medical treatments.
The numerous miracles that Christ performed are evidence that God can, and is willing, to heal when all humanly known remedies fail. Mark 5:25-30 is the story of a woman who spent all that she had on doctors for a bleeding disorder. Her faith in Christ linked her to the power that was in him.
Should a believer go to the doctor? Yes. Should we view medical science as superior to God’s ability to heal? No.
The elders who visit the sick man in James 5 anoint him with oil and pray for him that he would be raised up again. Although we have much far superior medicine available than mere olive oil, we should have the same prayerful attitude toward healing in our prayers.
The answer to the above question is from the examples of scripture. I’ll now relate a story from a friend from Guatemala who now lives here in the United States. One morning while living in Guatemala my friend Cupertino awoke to see his son with a severe eye infection. Both eyes were “as red as tomatoes and swollen closed.” A simple antibiotic treatment would likely have healed the infection. However, Cupertino had barely enough money to feed his son, let alone visit a doctor. He spent the day working with his hoe out in the fields. Half of the time he worked the soil. The other half of the day was spent in prayer beneath a nearby tree. He poured out his heart in tears to God:
“Lord, you know that my son is at home and very sick. Please heal him.”
When he arrived home, his son ran out to meet him with bright eyes.
After immigrating to the United States, my friend had a severe case of stones in his gall bladder. After suffering a sleepless night with severe pain, he agreed to go to the hospital. After a successful surgery, he was back at work 7 days later. If he had been in Guatemala, he likely would have prayed, just as he did the night he was in pain. The visit to the doctor would not have been an option, let alone surgery. In both instances, he prayed and availed himself of the best help he had available. The lesson is that if you have access to good health care, you should not consider it a lack of faith to take advantage of it.