As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes, Lord," they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; and their sight was restored. (Matthew 9:27-30a NIV)
There are many such stories in the New Testament about miraculous healings. For some people in the postmodern world those are just legends or unbelievable tales. For others it is an old manner of writing about some great person or a wise teacher who was speaking about morality and eternal theory, so that is why you have to understand it just "symbolically." Yet, for some of us these healing stories are testimonies about the almighty strength of non-doubtful faith.
In the paragraph above, you will find three types of people: an atheist, agnostic and believer. First, let us look at how each seeks to find treatments for their diseases.
The Atheist and Healing
You have your knowledge. You know everything about this life, or at least almost everything. Whenever you need any additional information, you can get it easily from your "trustful" sources. When you are sick, you go just to "professionals." You are sure that they can solve your problem, because it is just a "physical pain." Indeed, they usually find the reason. You get a prescription or treatment regimen and in couple of days, you are completely better. Therefore, you are lucky and self-assured again. Nevertheless, what if the whole procedure doesn't help? What if your "professionals" cannot find the reason? They may say that your problem is incurable, inoperable or just intractable. How about the message that your disease or condition certainly will shorten your life and may very soon end it? What do you do with this kind of knowledge then? For the first time in your life, you don't know where to go...
The Agnostic and Healing
You cannot understand the people who are convinced of their belief or position. Sometimes you think that these people are merely arrogant or perhaps brainwashed. Your opinion is that it cannot be that easy to believe so completely. You spent some nights thinking about what is the truth. The only sure answer that you have found in yourself says: "There is no sure answer." Usually, you don't worry when you feel a pain, because you don't know exactly what is causing it or what it can bring. It is not your habit to run to the doctor for every little twinge, sniffle or bump. However, one day your pain grows. You eventually consult medical specialists, but you don't believe them, because you believe that nobody can be a "specialist." Therefore, you go on alone with your pain. You don't like to think about it too much. You are not scared, because you don’t know and therefore should not speculate about the consequences. Yet, this causes a problem in that you are generally unhappy. After all, the remainder of your life is still before you, but you don't want really to live with "this kind of life." Now, you don’t know what to do…
The Believer and Healing
Perhaps you were strongly influenced by atheists growing up or by “enlightened” teachers and professors during your education. Certainly, you have had many agnostic friends and confidants in life. When you have a problem, you don't whine, swig alcohol or take illegal drugs because you know they don’t help. You are sure that there is a reason why all these happens with you, even if you cannot see it. As you consult the physicians and technicians, you are reminded that they are merely human beings like us. Yes, they can help us, but they can be also wrong. Even in the face of human error, misdiagnosis or ignorance you don’t lose your trust. Your trust is not in people, medicine or new medical marvel. No, your trust is in firmly planted in someone far above it all, God. You know He is the solution, for He is the author and finisher of all the solutions. The question is: "How can I get nearer to Him?"
So, we have three different kinds people whose heartfelt beliefs govern how they may think and behave during critical periods of life. But can our "spiritual condition" seriously affect the process of healing? What does it really matter if I am an atheist, an agnostic, or a believer? Has it any influence on my health? And how is it possible that my "mental ideology" plays any role in my "physical condition?"
About Illnesses and Spiritual Healing
Aside from the world’s religious leaders, many famous psychologists have documented the positive and negative influences our thoughts and fantasies have on our body. Clinical and medical scientific giants such as Sigmund Freud, Erich Fromm and Carl Jung all wrote that our mental condition plays an absolutely critical role in either promoting healing or exacerbating one’s level of physical illness.
For ancient Romans and Greeks it was the heart; for Christians, the spirit, and for modern psychologists, the psyche. It really does not matter what we call it, the point is human beings are not constructed from merely the physical or visceral, i.e. flesh, bones and blood. Indeed, there is something more to the human organism and this “something more” makes an important donation to our physical condition! Anyone who has spent any time around the profoundly mentally ill persons will understand what I mean.
Freud wrote about such illnesses of the psyche saying that these patients are like "dreaming while awake." In Jesus' times, the people of Israel described them as having "demons in their spirits." Pagan societies believed that gods had stolen their minds. From the very earliest of times, people have recognized problems of the heart, mind or psyche and have attempted to craft different ways and approaches to help humans to achieve and maintain health in both the physical and mental realms and brought the seriously ill to their Shamans, Gurus, Brahmas, Priests, Rabbis and Psychotherapists to apply their particular tradition of spirituality to heal body and soul. They are still coming.
Christian Faith as The Source
Now the Atheist will say that Christianity is nothing more than an illusion and self-deception. The Agnostic will observe, reflect, and conclude that a clear approach is indecipherable or unknowable. The Christian believer who has experienced or witnessed the indissoluble power of faith may not easily find the necessary words to explain it, but knows how their life was changed when they chose to follow Christ. Their simple, yet profound answer is “Yet, I believe!”
Admittedly, it is difficult to describe spiritual power unless you have experienced it because you don't really see it instead you feel it. The only way to begin to perceive it is to observe how real followers of Christ act and live. Their answer to life’s perplexing problems is “Yes! Lord!” Now, there are many who declare that only they have the key to Christian truths and so on. But you don't have to look on their words or systems rather gauge their actions. If you will look carefully than you will find those who live simply according to the commandments of God and reflect Jesus in their actions. Ask yourself, how they answer the question posed by Christ, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" Answer, “Yes! Lord!” and you will find the peace and happiness of Christ in their eyes, which brings together for health the physical and the spiritual under His Lordship.
You may rightfully ask, how then, may I have this faith? Paul, the Apostle, who wrote so much of the New Testament and experienced miraculous healing himself, would say to you: “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.” (1 Tim 2:3-6) The Atheist will say he already knows the way and is sure of his decision. The agnostic wanting to be fair will say it’s just another of many theories, who can know? Again, the Bible has the answer found in 1 John, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13) Finally, Jesus himself tells us that all ways are not equal, when he says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6). You see, it is not about our own knowledge or about believing something, rather, it is about the knowledge of God, His truth and believing in someone, Jesus.
Well, what will you decide about the source for healing? Will your eyes also be opened? Is your heart healthy? Your body fit? Well, I would repeat for you the question of Jesus: "Do you believe that I am able to do this?"