FAITH AND MEDICAL AS YOU GROW OLDER
Well, two weeks ago, we talked about Faith and Hope - and then last week, we talked about Love. These three things are very important in our lives concerning everything else. As we grow older, we have things to face that we didn’t have before. Unfortunately, the majority of older people really deal with a lot of depression, and they begin to feel useless, bored, lonely, grumpy, and on and on. All of these things can be overcome if we have a handle on faith, hope, and love. We’re going to deal with overcoming each of these items and more - but today we’re going to deal with a very common issue and faith, hope, and love are important in this issue also.
Now, it is obvious that as we get into our 60’s, then 70’s, then 80’s, and some into their 90’s (and a few into their l00’s) that we have issues to deal with in our physical bodies that we didn’t have before. Then, when we have heard about all the people who have received miraculous healing in their bodies, we tend to think that, if we haven’t received a healing, that our Christian friends might think we’re not very spiritual if we go to the doctor. Then, there are those who even think that going to the doctor is UNSPIRITUAL! There are others who go to the doctor but they never discuss it with their Christian brothers and sisters. AND, of course, there are others who just go to the doctor and don’t even pray about physical problems because they have never experienced any miraculous healing. Now, I don’t want to give the impression that I’ve got it all together and do it all perfectly - I’ve struggled with some things just like all of us have. BUT, I have learned some things and God told me that I am to share with you what I have learned.
Many years ago when my husband and I got ahold of what faith really was and how it worked, it was transforming to our lives. We had many miraculous things happen in the realm of provision, in protection, in help, in guidance, in revelation, and on and on. We also had physical healing take place. But, for the most part, our biggest struggles of faith were in this area of physical healing, and there were times when we felt like we were failing the Lord, or not doing something right, or just not getting it, if we didn’t get healed by faith.
Now - what I have learned regarding this issue is what we’re going to talk about today.
In the world we live in today, insurance to cover medical expenses is a norm. Going to several different kinds of doctors for specific medical check-ups, and then for new problems is the norm also. Making an appointment for the next appointment is common as you leave the doctor’s office. Doctors are trained in specific areas and some of them cover all the areas together. Regular doctor visits are common for all of us.
Therefore, what the Lord has shown me in this realm is this. Of course, I’m old enough to have Medicare and other financial help in the medical realm to the point that doctor visits do not cost me much at all. Actually, I look at doctors as ones who can help me understand the intricacies of the human body. It’s also my norm to befriend the doctors.
Now - let me share this with you. I was born in 1937 and, as a little girl, I distinctly remember being close to our family doctor. He was like family. I even remember his name - it was Dr. Thompson. He even came to our house for some of our appointments. But it wasn’t just us - he did that with all his patients. Many, many doctors did that back in those days. There that type of friendly relationship with the medical profession was common to me.
Now - let me throw this in here. Many of you already know my story - but for those of you who don’t - when I was 18 months old, I had a very bad fever of some kind. When it was over, my left eye was crossed. So by the time I was 3 years old, I had to start wearing glasses. I hated them - but they helped me see. You know how 3, 4, 5, & 6 years olds are - they don’t really know that they’re hurting someone when they make fun of them. I got teased and made fun of a lot. I even have a picture of me with my little friends for my birthday - all sitting at a table, and one little boy was using his hands to try to make his eye look like mine. The end result was I developed a very strong inferiority complex all through my elementary school and high school age. Then I went to college.
When I was in my second year, when I was back home on a Christmas break, I began searching for an eye surgeon. I found one that I really liked. After he ran the tests on my eye, he told me that it would require two surgeries about 2 months apart. I asked about the cost and he told me. I told him that neither I nor my parents could pay for that. THEN - HE SAID SOMETHING THAT CHANGED MY LIFE. He told me that he would do the surgeries for me if I would promise to get a job after it was all over and pay him back with monthly payments until the full amount was paid!!!!!! I sat there that day and looked him in the eye and told him I would. We made a plan for the surgeries to be after my second year of college was finished - (May or June).
It all went just as he and I had discussed and, after the second surgery, I felt, for the first time in my life that I looked normal. As soon as I was healed, I had an interview and was hired as an executive secretary to a vice president of Employers Reinsurance Corporation - an insurance company for insurance companies. I had taken classes in taking shorthand and typing - and this was perfect for me. I had a fancy desk and I loved, loved, loved it. I paid my doctor back each month as I had promised. MY DOCTOR WAS MY FRIEND.
So - see - I consider them friends and I talk to them like I would talk to anyone else. There are many, through the years that I really became close to - like family. I tell them, in a friendly way, that I’m a Christian and that I take the promises of God in the Bible very seriously. You would be amazed at the sweet and kind responses that they have had. One heart doctor that I went to in Port St. Lucie about 10 years ago was so kind to me and supportive of my faith. He was from one of the islands (I’ve forgotten which one) and he was getting ready to move back there. We hugged on my last visit and he gave me a little paper where he had written some precious words about me having a good and pleasant future ahead of me. I have put it in a frame and I look at it often.
Another little story in this area is that I became friends with the new doctor after that one. We laughed and joked around a lot. One day, I was there for an ‘every 6 months visit’ and he came in and checked me out in a couple ways and then said (smiling and laughing), “Boy, I am really glad that you’re doing good - your heart seems just fine - there’s a bunch of others here today who aren’t doing so fine. Keep up on that prayin!”
Another very important issue in the realm of going to the doctor is keeping our children, grandchildren, and other relatives from being concerned about us. Often, the ones in our lives who we’re closest to are trying their best to watch out for us and make sure everything is okay with us. They tend to worry if we refuse to make our regular doctor visits. They feel responsible for our safety and protection. They know that we believe that God can and does heal but it’s scary for them when we refuse to go to the doctor or do what the doctor said. Brothers and sisters, that’s where that Agape love comes in. The normal Mommy and Daddy love for our kids isn’t enough in this realm - we need to reach into that spiritual realm in our spirits, and access that Agape love to keep them from worrying.
It’s okay to say to the Lord, “Lord, I really believe that I’m okay but my son (or daughter) will have more peace if I go get checked out. Lord, I love my child with YOUR KIND OF LOVE, and so, I’m going to do this.”
Now - there’s another part of this healing - faith - medical realm that I believe the Lord wants us to talk about.
Most people (including Christians) don’t have a clue how important our words are that come out of our mouths. They’re praying for healing, asking God to heal them, but they don’t understand how it all works, and they’re being “hung by their tongue.” I’m going to quote Mark 11:23 - KJV - “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith.” Now - first of all, the mountain is the problem!!! (These words were spoken just after Jesus had spoken to the fig tree and they discovered that it had died. The mountain was the fig tree.) You have to take authority over the problem in the name of Jesus. That means that you have to SPEAK TO THE PROBLEM.
Now - let me remind you of something I said when I was talking about FAITH. We don’t have to beg and plead with God to heal us. He’s already said in so many verses in the Bible that it is His will for us to live in health, or healing. It’s already done in the spiritual realm. Therefore, it’s not about asking for it - or asking Him to do it - but thanking Him for it and RECEIVING it. BUT - along with receiving healing, we have to SPEAK TO THE PROBLEM. (Do you mean that I am to talk to my body??????) YES - YES - YES!!!!
I have learned from these verses of Scripture, along with many others, that I AM TO SPEAK TO THE PROBLEM IN THE NAME OF JESUS. If there’s pain in my foot, then I am to speak to my foot. If it’s my back, my hip, my stomach, my chest, my head, my arm, and on and on - YES, we are to speak to the mountain (or problem). Remember, in that verse I just quoted, it said that when I believe that those things which I say will come to pass, I shall have whatsoever I say. A lot of Christians give up when they say once or twice and don’t see it yet, they give up.
Now the next verse, Mark 11:24, says this: “Therefore, I say unto you, What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.” YOU MUST BELIEVE THAT IT’S YOURS, BEFORE YOU SEE IT WITH YOUR EYES OR FEEL IT IN YOUR BODY!!! That means that in your heart, you believe that God has already promised to you that it is yours. It means that you have SOAKED in His Word and you believe it to the degree that His promise in His Word is bigger than the problem - so you BELIEVE IT NO MATTER WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE OR FEELS LIKE!
Now - here’s another verse - one that I have quoted to myself probably thousands of times. 1 Peter 2:24 - “Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.” Now this is the way I say it to myself, “By the stripes of Jesus, I WAS HEALED!!! SO I AM HEALED.”
Now, brothers and sisters, this is where a lot of Christians get all mixed up. If they don’t see it immediately, they go back to either begging God, or getting in the mullygrubs. HERE’S A VERY IMPORTANT TRUTH!!! IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE IT IN YOUR HEART, THEN YOU JUST KEEP ON SAYING THAT YOU ARE HEALED. You don’t say, “Well I’m hoping that I’m healed,” or “God, what did I do wrong?” or “Well, maybe I’ll get my healing later.”
Remember, when Jesus spoke to that fig tree! They saw no immediate results. They walked on to where they were going. Then, the next morning, as they went by, they saw that it had died FROM THE ROOTS UP. That meant that the roots had died and the rest of the tree was dying away also.
Remember I said, “We are stung by our tongue.” We have to BELIEVE FIRST - THEN SAY THE TRUTH - AND KEEP ON SAYING IT - AS THOUGH IT IS ALREADY DONE - BECAUSE IT IS - YOU JUST CAN’T SEE IT OR FEEL IT YET.
That’s how speaking to the mountain works. AND it’s not just about healing. Faith in God’s Word - His promises - is the motivating force that brings about results. That’s the reason that it’s so important to spend as much time as possible in God’s Word. I call it SOAKING.
Now - down to the nitty gritty - This is the way I have learned to do it. I talk to the Lord first - praising Him - and THANKING HIM for His Word and His promises. I thank Him for sending His Son to take the penalty for all my bad and therefore giving me salvation - and taking me into His family. I talk to Him from my heart. Then, I talk to Him about the promise I have received in my heart. I thank Him for it, and begin praising Him for the solution. After that, I begin SPEAKING (NOT TO GOD BUT TO THE PROBLEM) AND TELL THE PROBLEM IT HAS TO LEAVE MY BODY BECAUSE IT IS TRESPASSING ON GOD’S PROPERTY!! I SPEAK IN THE NAME OF JESUS AND COMMAND IT TO GO. Then I continue to praise Him.
From that point on, I talk from the standpoint of it being gone, whether I can feel it gone or not. THAT’S BECAUSE “BY HIS STRIPES I WAS HEALED AND IF I WAS, THEN I AM!” Actually, when we are commanding in the name of Jesus, we are commanding His healing power to be manifest in our bodies. Now - did you get that word, “MANIFEST?” This is what I had to get ahold of - The healing is mine when I believe it and receive it! It may not manifest immediately - just like they couldn’t see a manifestation of the fig tree being dead immediately.
Now - there is absolutely nothing wrong with having someone pray for you to help you with this. Also, there are people in the body of Christ who have been gifted in healing miracles. The Bible talks about that. We have read about Jesus doing that, then some of His followers were gifted to bring about healing miracles. There are people today who are gifted in that realm.
One of the things I have become aware of is that as people get older, they just assume that health problems are just natural for older people and that they just have to accept that to be a part of growing older. I personally do not believe that we have to be sick or in awful pain or agony to ‘move to heaven’. Let me tell you a little story. My mother was getting old - my dad had already moved to heaven - and she was having a few little things to deal with and she just knew that she was leaving for heaven. She wasn’t in terrible pain or agony. We all knew that she was headed to be with Jesus and Daddy. She was laying in the bed and she closed her eyes. My sister was on one side of the bed and I was on the other side. We started singing some of her favorite hymns and we could tell that she just loved it. She kept her eyes closed. Then, I leaned down to her and said, “Mom, you’re hearing Linda and me sing now but pretty soon you’re going to be hearing angels sing instead of us.” She smiled this beautiful smile, with her eyes still closed, and we kept singing. Then - within just a few minutes, she left her body!!! What a beautiful passing it was. I will never forget it. Of course, I was sad that she was gone but I knew she was ready and was with the Lord. No pain - no agony - no screaming - no terror - JUST THE PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING.
Now I have seen, through the years that, with older people, they just expect to have physical problems. They know that they aren’t as strong as they used to be - and they keep having birthdays - giggle - and it seems to be the norm to just have aching pain, physical trouble of all kinds, and it seems too hard and useless to fight against it.
I have learned, through the years, both from the lives of others and my own also, that one of the hardest things to deal with in this realm is to REALLY KEEP ON BELIEVING AND SAYING THAT I AM HEALED WHEN MY BODY IS SCREAMING AT ME WITH PAIN AND PROBLEM. What I have come to see clearly myself is this!! To put it as simple as possible - The Bible says it is so!!! If the Bible says it is so - then who am I to say it’s not? I must convince my own heart that what the Bible says is more believable than what my body is saying. Therefore, if I am having a struggle in this area, I try to spend some quality time with the Lord. That means to me - ‘soaking’ in His Word and praying in the Spirit! I love Jude 20!! It says, “But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.”
Praying in the Spirit is one of the hardest things to train yourself to do - and, yet, it is one of the most powerful ways there is to grow in the Lord, to understand His Word and what He, the Lord, is really like, to grow stronger in faith, AND TO PRAY FOR ALL OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND THEREFORE SEE RESULTS IN LIVES. When I first started to try to spend time praying in the Spirit, after 30 minutes I felt like it had been hours. Through the years, I have discovered that it is a way that the Lord has provided for us to pray successfully when we really don’t know how to pray. Romans 8:26 has become very precious to me. Rom. 8:26 - “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
I have learned through the years that spending time praying in the Spirit is helpful in every realm of life with all its problems - with loved ones, with illnesses, with children in the family, with money issues, with all kinds of situations - and, on top of that, I have discovered that it also brings “the peace that passes understanding,” which Philippians 4:7 talks about.
Now - brothers and sisters - there’s the medical world and there’s the faith world - and EVERYBODY GETS OLDER!!! One of Jesus’ disciples was Luke - and he was a doctor. He didn’t go around saying, “Oh Jesus, let me handle this guy - I know what’s wrong with him - I can do this!” AND - IN THE SAME WAY - Jesus didn’t say, “Luke, don’t get in my way now with your medical knowledge - and try to keep me from doing a miracle for this guy!”
I really believe that, as we get older, the Lord still wants to use us in all kinds of ways - and, sometimes, it has to do with this very subject we are dealing with. God’s not mad at you for going to the doctor - Frankly, lots of Christians wouldn’t even grow OLDER if they hadn’t gone to the doctor. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, there is a wonderful world of FAITH that our wonderful Heavenly Father has provided for us. He has spoken His Word filled with His promises to people who have been obedient to Him and recorded it all for us. Honestly, there are many people who I am aware of today, who are alive only because FAITH provided life for them when the medical world couldn’t do anything else for them.
My thinking is this!! It is far better to learn about how to operate in faith - how to believe and receive - what the promises are - how to speak in faith to my body and get results and how to rely on the Lord through all the things that life throws at you - BEFORE I AM IN A CRISIS - INSTEAD OF WAITING UNTIL THERE IS A CRISIS AND TRYING TO LEARN IT THEN.
Now - I want to share another story with you. This just happened 3 - 4 years ago. It’s about my son, Mark, who lives in the Kansas City, Mo. area (my home town).
I got a call one day from him and he told me that he had a very serious physical problem which could be very bad. (Mark is a vet so he has some veteran’s medical assistance.) Anyway, he had been told that there was cancer in his tongue and he was going to have to have surgery and they probably were going to have to remove part of his tongue. This was very scary. He and his wife, Dee, are believing Christians and Mark has done a lot of preaching, and even pastored for a time. He said they were going to come down to Florida to see us.
I had been leading a women’s life group at my church in Port St. Lucie, Grace Family Church, on Monday mornings for years. I immediately got in touch with all the ladies and everybody began praying for him. They came down and came to church with us on Sunday. After the service was over, all the ladies from the Monday group gathered around Mark and prayed and prayed and prayed. I have a picture of it.
They went back to K. C., and the surgery was scheduled. They removed part of his tongue and his ability to eat normal food was totally changed. However, the tests showed that the cancer was gone! We all rejoiced that he was cancer free - and I prayed a lot for him in the ‘eating’ realm. He mostly had to get his protein, vitamins, and everything else through drinking rather than eating because of the tongue problem.
Several months went by and he kept his appointments with the doctor and tests were run. THEN - the cancer in the tongue had come back. He was scheduled for another surgery and the doctors were not very hopeful of good results. Of course, all my Monday morning ladies joined in fervent prayer for my son. So - the day of surgery came. He and his wife went to the hospital, and Dee waited while they ran some tests necessary before the surgery - and then they took him to the room for surgery. He was laying on the surgical table - and the doctor said, “Mark, we’ll be right back - we have to go look at something from the tests.” He laid there on the table, communing with the Lord. Then the doctor came back in and said, “Mark, you can get up and get dressed and go home - you’re cancer free. We don’t know what happened - but it’s not there anymore. We tested and tested - and it’s just gone!” AND HE’S BEEN CANCER FREE EVER SINCE THEN - AND I BELIEVE WILL CONTINUE TO BE CANCER FREE!!
See - that’s the faith world and the medical world working together!!!!! The doctor didn’t do anything to have the miracle occur. God did!!! Faith did!!
I’m telling you - our family has rejoiced and rejoiced and rejoiced! We kept on praying through that very difficult time and look what God did. He’s not limited. We don’t always understand every detail of things. But we don’t have to. What we do have to do is BELIEVE THE PROMISES IN THE WORD OF GOD, KEEP SAYING OUR WORDS OF FAITH RATHER THAN DOUBT AND UNBELIEF, AND TRUSTING OUR WONDERFUL TRIUNE GOD. He will never let us down, nor fail us, nor forsake us. HIS AGAPE LOVE IS THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN THE UNIVERSE!!!!
Scriptures used for this lesson
1 Peter 2:24