As you might have noticed, I haven’t updated the MLJ Online site in some time. Some of this is due to work demands (I’m a high school teacher and preach every Sunday) and some of this is due to fact that I’ve been dealing with cancer for the past 2 or 3 months.
I was diagnosed with oral cancer on my tongue back in July and then had surgery at the end of August. The recovery from the surgery has gone very well, but I’m still looking at 6 weeks of radiation treatment. The good news is that I should be cancer-free and basically back to normal by the end of the year.
As I’ve gone through all this I’ve certainly pondered the issues of miraculous healing, as opposed to healing that is aided by doctors and technology. I do believe in immediate, divine, supernatural healing. But I also believe it is rare, as miracles by definition should be. Up to the morning of my surgery, I was still hoping for miraculous healing. However, God chose to use modern medicine, modern technology, and doctors and nurses to heal me. As a result of this, I was driven to look to Him in ways I never had before, trusting in Him like never before. Scripture became much more than just a text, it became a living Word to me. If I had been miraculously healed, I would have missed all the precious lessons of God’s love and patience and promises held out to us in His Word.
I also learned a lot about the fellowship of suffering. I had never before needed help. But now I felt (and still feel) the need of help from God’s people. Cards, letters, emails, phone calls, visits, and especially prayers – I had never really needed any of these things before from other people. But because I had to go through some major surgery, I know now how important it is for us as Christians to help others in need and how much those in need are helped by these things.
I believe Dr. Lloyd-Jones would concur with what I’ve written above. He spent a lot of his life dealing with these very issues because of his dual role of being a preacher and a medical doctor at the same time. But he understood the limits of medicine because he knew that just because you could heal a man physically, didn’t mean it would benefit him spiritually. So if we are to truly be of benefit to others, it is the spiritual healing that needs to come first, and only then will any physical healing be of any real value.
I am in the process of the physical healing, but there has been a tremendous spiritual healing (or quickening) because I have been forced by God into this position by the lack of miraculous healing. I am now much more fit to sympathize with and be of value to others who might also be going through similar incidents. And because of this, though I never would have chosen this in a million years, I’m glad that it’s happened this way.
– Sean Richardson