14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him 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 him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:14-16 NIV)
I learned a great lesson from my friend Dr. David Darnell many years ago. We were reading this verse when he said, “You know Mike, when we are sick we need the prayers of God’s people and the best doctors we can find. God uses both to bring about healing.” Dr. Darnell went on to explain to me that in biblical times oil was used for many things. One of its uses was for medicinal purposes. We need prayer and medicine, or “oil” as James says. I’ve never forgotten that lesson.
I go to the hospital to see friends of mine who are battling some illness or preparing for surgery on a very frequent basis. Before I leave their room I always pray for God’s healing, and for their doctors. As I pray, I thank the Lord for the skills, experience, and training the doctors have acquired through the years. I also say, “Lord, even with all of these wonderful gifts these doctors are just people, just like us, and they need Your wisdom and discernment to know what to do and how to do it.”
Just two weeks ago I was visiting a friend in the hospital who had a strange infection in his elbow. It was causing him excruciating pain and his doctors could not figure out what was causing the infection. As I got ready to leave his room we joined hands and prayed for God’s healing and for God to give his doctors insight into the source of the infection. My friend is out of the hospital now. He is on the mend. God gave his doctors wisdom and God gave my friend healing.
All too often when we become ill we become obsessed with finding the “best” doctors that money can buy. We look to the doctors to find answers to our medical problems. We forget that even the best doctors are just plain ol’ people when it comes right down to it. They need the Lord’s wisdom and insight and we need to pray for them as they work with us. Even more than this–we need to remember that He alone is our Healer.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You will remind me that You are the source of healing when I am ill. Keep me from making an Idol out of those who care for me and others when we are ill.