Saturday, October 17, 2015

Healthy Living for All 1

Find a therapist/doctor who will treat the whole person and the whole family.  (David Larson, M.D. of Duke University, The Forgotten Factor in Physical and Mental Health, 1992)

As a therapist my interest in integrating faith and medicine began in earnest after dad's accident in 1968. I received a call from Mother saying Dad was dying and the doctors only hoped he would survive until my brother arrived home from Korea. My older brother Maury and I went back home to Illinois be with Mom.

We relieved her at the hospital so she could rest. Each of us took turns holding on to Dad’s arms to keep him from pulling the tubes from his nose and mouth. It was an awful experience. I felt helpless and hopeless, sitting awkwardly beside his bed listening to him ramble and attempt to breathe.

After some time, I began to silently pray for God to heal Dad. I had never prayed like that before. Our denomination did not believe in miraculous gifts. We “Prayed for the sick we didn’t pray for them to get well,” we joked but this was no joke. We had always asked God to “Bless the patient, the doctors and nurses and comfort the family” but never asked for a miracle. This time I was so desperate that I forgot my theology and prayed for a miraculous healing.

My prayers were awkward, mumbled and panic stricken. They were not filled with faith or even hope. Despite my hesitancy and poor faith I finally sensed the presence of a powerful force in the room. The hair on my head stood up and I had chills down my spine. About the same time Dad became quiet and his labored breathing was smooth and peaceful. His body was calm and sleep replaced the thrashing and resistance we were trying to control.

I knew Dad had been deeply touched and that allowed me to follow his lead and relax. His hands fell quietly on the bed. I thought, "Maybe God has answered my prayer". He had. 

Dad recovered fully and lived another ten years. I too was changed. I could no longer deny that Jesus was “The Great Physician” that healed the sick. It thrust me into a desire to understand the healing ministry. I had no preparation but I was going on the excitement of one personal experience.

My profession of Counseling resisted the story and so did my church. Neither was thrilled by hearing about God’s healing touch. Nor did they bless my desire to learn and do more about spiritual healing. Few of my friends welcomed my new faith in a healing God. Preachers and teachers who regularly talked about the Great Physician were shocked when I mentioned what He had done to integrate theory and experience. 

I was caught between the Scylla of fearful, unbelieving Christians and the Charybdis of anxious disbelieving psychologists. Several years before I went to graduate school in Counseling a Sunday school teacher warned me to “Stay away from psychology! It’s from the devil.” 

My religious friends were frightened about me focusing on love or prayer to heal.  They usually protested by telling about people who were not healed and their loved ones complained.

I also found that my professional friends were deeply suspicious of any healing other than their own brand of theology from Freud, Skinner or Rogers.  I was caught in the middle of two competing theologies. Neither biblical.

Stay tuned for what is. 

1 comment:

Garima Patil said...

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Spiritual Healer