, , , , ,

Before considering the subject of healing mental illnesses or any disease, we do well to realize that other Christians have views that differ from our own. Other believers are neither superior nor inferior to you or me, based on their beliefs. They are our brethren.

As an example of how much the denominations differ, consider the practice of prayer. You find traditional memorized prayers handed down for centuries, Spirit-led prayers, intercessory prayers, and prayers with fasting. In some churches people travail, long and full, like a mighty river surging toward the sea.

You also hear of spiritual warfare, inner healing, and generational prayers. Some prayers are scripture filled and others simply heart-spilled. Petitioners cry out to God with the tongues of angels and with the earthly tongues of grace-filled men. God hears them all.

In a similar way, though most Christians believe in God’s ability to heal, they believe in different means to foster that healing. Some believers, like warriors, focus on devils and deliverance, while others, like watchmen, wait for divine providence. You find “healing by faith” and see laying on of hands and anointing with oil or holy water. Masses and novenas might be dedicated to the sufferer, along with prayers to saints in heaven. Other Christians stress repentance from sin and greater obedience to scripture, which they believe will open the door to healing.

At the same time, sufferers might refrain from medicinal helps while others will use whatever ordinary, earthly means are available—specialized diets, detoxification, herbs, acupuncture, medications, exercise, and meditation. My aunt would press a picture of Christ to her area of sickness and trust him, with a “case closed” determination. My father took his insurance card to the doctor’s office, after swallowing fifteen herbal supplements. He also prayed every day. Both had faith in God to keep them alive and well. Both had long, full lives.

Whichever way we choose, let us not assume that our way is the only way, the right way, or the way of greater faith. Let there be no schism in the body. God might use alternative therapies or grant a miracle. He might honor those who trust in faith alone, or do mighty works through the combination of counseling and medication and prayers.

One pastor wisely said to a suffering servant, “Come and let us love you.” He never explained his invitation, but faith works by love, doesn’t it? He trusted that in time God would heal in ways yet unseen, to degrees yet unfathomed.

If you talk to enough Christians you will discover that God showed grace and healing through all the means listed above. How could he? The means do not matter as much as our growing dependence upon him. He calls us to a depth of dependence we cannot imagine and he’ll use our sickness to take us there.

As much as we Christians pray for health, we also desire to grow up into Christ in all things. You are a rich soul if you experience both. Pray for others who are afflicted in body and mind, that Jehovah Rapha, our God who heals, will guide them to means of relief. May you in your strength, and the sick man in his weakness, both grow into Him as you worship and pray for abundance of life.