As I sat in the gate area of the Toronto airport this past Sunday, pondering the recent ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) conference, I was overwhelmed, recalling the barrage of treatments that are needed these days to overcome chronic illness. Our environment is extraordinarily polluted: with pathogens, industrial chemicals, heavy metals and other garbage, that staying healthy- never mind healing from chronic illness- is becoming more difficult than ever. That our food supply is so depleted in nutrients and manipulated to the extent that 75 percent of what is now sold in conventional supermarkets is toxic to the body, doesn't help matters any.
Going to medical conferences simultaneously excites and depresses me because of what I learn or am reminded of. New treatments give hope and promise to the suffering, yet the complex regimens required to heal from chronic diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, mold illness, cancer, autism and others, are overwhelming. What's more, many of the sick don't have the incredible amounts of stamina, resources, knowledge or money required to follow these regimens. I know because I am one of these people, despite the fact that I have been researching medicine for over seven years and have more resources than many people.
Of course, God has said that I am healed, and that this healing will completely manifest in me soon. (whatever "soon" means in God's mind). That I don't need to do another darned thing to get well because He intends to finish what medicine has started- by His power; supernaturally. So you can imagine the battle that rages in my mind when I learn about a new, apparently amazing treatment that could finally rid me of this or that infection or biochemical dysfunction. How conflicted I get when a kindhearted physician offers to treat me pro bono or at a discounted rate, or send me free products. I provide a lot of helpful information to the Lyme disease community, so I am sometimes blessed by health care providers who offer me a hand or an ear or a free trial of a product.
During the ILADS conference, a couple of such offers came my way again. Typically, I don't turn them down, because no fool would say No to free help, especially when finances are tight and the companies or doctors who want to assist me are reputable and wise.
I asked God what to do about the offers, since He has told me that He would heal me, without the help of medicine. I probably shouldn't have even asked the question, but when the promise of healing hasn't yet fully manifest and you have spent years trying to get well...the decision is hard. Either way, the decision is hard.
The treatment treadmill is exhausting, time-consuming, expensive, painful and never-ending, yet it takes a boatload of faith to give it up, though God has said in His Word that "by His (My) stripes you are healed." Isaiah 53:5. Maybe the problem is that I tend to become more immersed in medicine than in His Word- it's a hazard of my work as a medical writer.
As I packed to go home from ILADS, I told God that I didn't want my faith in Him as my healer to be diluted by my continued reliance upon medicine for healing. Because medicine has a way of subtly shifting my hope away from God and onto herbs, vitamins and bioidentical hormones as my menders. Supernatural healing doesn't have to be a mutually exclusive way that God heals, but when you are chest-deep in treatment protocols, it is sometimes easier to count on the protocol than on the One who makes the protocol work.
When I take medicine, I wonder about how a particular drug is affecting my body, instead of about how God's Word is touching me. I focus upon the vitamins that I should be taking, instead of meditating upon how He intends to restore every dysfunctional cell in my body by His power.
But as I rose from my seat in the gate area to board my airplane in Toronto, God reminded me of some important truths.
He seemed to say that my faith in Him as my healer isn't contingent upon me taking medicine. I could choose to stop treatments in order to increase my reliance upon Him as my healer, but not taking medicine, in and of itself, doesn't increase faith nor is it proof that I have faith. I may cease to take medicine to try to convince myself that I have faith in God to heal me, or worse, to convince Him to heal me- which I don't need to do.
Conversely, taking medicine doesn't have to diminish my reliance upon, and belief in Him as my healer, if I believe that He blesses the medicine and uses it. As long as I abide in Him and His Word, my faith will remain in Him, not the natural substances and therapies that He uses to heal. On the other hand, if I take medicine because I believe that my faith is insufficient to heal me or that He is waiting for me to do something in order to make me well, then I don't really believe in Him as my healer. Faith isn't increased by the decision to not take medicine, but the decision to take medicine may be a reflection of how much I believe in Him as my healer.
His final words to me in Toronto seemed to be, "Just relax. I will heal you either way." My sense was that He prefers to spare me the trials of medicine- the agonizing detoxification reactions, the money and time and happiness lost by grueling treatments- but He will use it, anyway.
Whether or not I choose to benefit from the benevolence of kind practitioners, He desires that I, that we, remain cognizant of one crucial truth; that He is the healer. He pours supernatural power and light into our cells; He gives doctors wisdom, and He uses the natural substances that He has created. Whatever it takes, to make us better, in body, mind and spirit. Thankfully, He will use whatever methods we respond to in faith. As long as we know that He wants us well, and that He has the power to accomplish what we cannot-whether through medicine or by His Spirit.