December 6, 2022
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Do faith healers have specialties?

Doctors do, of course. I’d not be surprised to find an LDP specialist available should you need a Left Distal Phalange doctor for your port side little toe.

Not that long ago, I could have used an RDP specialist for my fractured RDP, but my very excellent primary care/GP/family medicine physician and friend), since retired, was more than able to deal deftly with both left and right distal phalanges and anything else from head top to toe bottom. He also knew how my head might affect several different parts of me and when I needed it examined.

Yes, doctors have specialties. But, for some reason, I found myself wondering about faith healers and specialties.

Just so you’ll know, I’d never even consider “hanging out my shingle” as a faith healer. But, if I did, I’m sure I’d be more tempted to work with cancer or heart disease (or maybe headaches or upper respiratory infections) than amputations/prosthetics. If my “cure” rate became troublesome or I were accused of malpractice, I would (forgive me) just blame the patient.

“You have committed sin,” I could charge, and hit the mark since 100% of folks miss the mark.

“You need more faith,” I might say. Well, thanks, a patient who had limped in, crawled in, was carried in, might say. Do you know anyone who doesn’t need more faith?

Or I might say, “You not only need more faith, you need higher quality faith.” Guess what?  My patient already knows that, too, and now has the added burden (if he’s not very good at thinking) of thinking that folks with “Grade A” faith don’t get sick, have accidents, lose loved ones, see marriages fail, etc., so his faith must be “Grade B.” Deal with it and take two aspirin. Or not. If you have faith.

Or what if I, the malpracticing faith healer, said or implied, “You just need more faith, better faith, and better prayer technique, by which I mean exactly the right words, phrases, and formulae (incantations?). “Sure is a shame you or your loved one caught this malady, has this difficulty, is dealing with this loss, but if you or they just prayed with enough mental vigor and used exactly the right technique . . .”

Phooey.

Tough things happen. Bad things happen. Good people suffer. Bad people suffer. It’s far too simplistic to say that good people always prosper and bad people always suffer, and, if you’re suffering, you did something evil or wrong and certainly didn’t “do faith right.”

The simplistic—and wrong—answers are nothing new and are always tempting. Take a look at the Book of Job. Old Job and his friends (whom he could have done without) had the usual theories about his suffering—all sounded plausible, and all were wrong. The friends were, as Job called them, “worthless physicians,” but he also failed as a diagnostician, as God makes clear by the end of the book.

By the way, I don’t like suffering. And, by the way, if I am ill, I’d very much like to be healed. If Jesus would like to do an eye-popping miracle to accomplish that, I’m for it, and I know he can. If he chooses to use the “usual” methods which are just as much his blessing, I’m also for that.

I take it for granted that the Lord who sees when a sparrow falls really does care about “all” of us—the hairs on our heads, our left little fingers, livers, legs, kidneys, and all.

But here’s the thing: He seems to care most about our hearts, by which I mean, our souls.

I love the amazing account in Mark 2 where Jesus first heals a man spiritually and, only then, physically. He seems to think that the former is more important.

This fact brings to my mind a hypothetical question, admittedly flawed and one I doubt the Lord would force on the man in Mark 2 or on us, but what if the choice were between one or the other? Spiritual or physical healing? Not both. Hmm.

And, oh, do you need more faith? Me, too. But remember that Jesus seemed to esteem “faith as a grain of mustard seed” to be real faith, albeit quite small. For my part, I think most of us will be spiritually healthier and have greater faith if we avoid those who are sure that their own faith is quite large.

And prayer? It matters immensely, far more than we can imagine. Our Father has promised to hear and give us what we need. Just don’t forget that the best gift by far is the gift of himself.

A lot of these faith, prayer, and healing questions are way above my pay grade. Still, I don’t think our Father minds us asking them. I think he wants us to use our brains more, not less, than we do.

But, as Job found out, God is God, and we are not.

I choose to trust my Father who is completely good, completely powerful, and completely loving. He loves and delights in all of his children. Me, too. As weak and faithless as I often am, I think he likes me a lot. That, my friends, is a miracle!

Curtis K. Shelburne

Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

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