In the United States millions of people with individual healthcare insurance policies have recently received cancellations from their insurance companies as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Next year multiplied tens of millions of people whose health care is covered by their employers—93 million by some estimates—will face the very same prospect as the Employer Mandate kicks in. Under the new policies available under the Act, premiums and deductibles for medical insurance will skyrocket for many people in America.
Why is God allowing this to happen to his people in the United States, perhaps most of whom depend upon health insurance?
In the culture of the West, the first line of defense against illness (especially catastrophic) is medical care by a doctor, the expenses of which will be covered mostly or entirely by insurance. Evangelical Christians are taught to pray to God first for healing and put their faith in Him. After that they will consult with their doctor, often trusting that God will use the doctor and his medical skills to heal.
We at The Elijah Challenge do not at all disagree with believers who go to doctors and receive medical care from them. However, could it be that the Lord is saying something to the Church through the current crisis? Could it be that He is calling us to go back to Him and to trust Him for our healing as did early believers—as difficult as that appears to be?
It’s obvious that at the time of the early church medical care was practically non-existent compared to what is available today. Believers therefore had no choice but to trust the Lord for their healing from sickness. But today medical care can be so effective with some diseases that trusting the Lord is no longer important. With the current crisis in medical coverage, perhaps the Lord is calling us to revisit what James taught in Chapter 5.
James 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.
Again, while we do not at all disagree with people consulting with doctors for medical needs, we do not see a role for doctors in what James is teaching above. In fact, James is very positive and affirmative about the result of praying over the sick and anointing them with oil: the sick person will be healed directly by the Lord.
By contrast, traditional teaching about healing for believers invariably emphasizes the will and timing of God in the healing. It is therefore at best uncertain. This traditional teaching, moreover, is vindicated over and over by the results we see of traditional prayer for the sick—sometimes they are healed, and often not. And when they are healed, it is generally not miraculous but takes place gradually (and “naturally”) with the intervention of the doctor.
This does not appear to be what James taught. Of course God can use doctors to heal, but is that what James meant? How can we reconcile James’ teaching (“the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up”) with what we actually experience when applying his instructions?
Is it possible that we have misinterpreted what he taught?
The current crisis with health care in the US may offer believers in the west a good reason to re-examine our traditional interpretation of James 5:14-16. Perhaps this is one reason why God is allowing such a terrible crisis in the important area of healthcare.
Doctors and medical science can be a gift from God, and will always be needed. Some infirm believers may indeed need to see their physician, and can do so without any condemnation at all. But it would behoove the Church, in the current climate which can only worsen, to re-examine the Scriptures with regard to physical healing.
Click on the link below for a re-examination.