- To enable students to understand the difference between curing and healing.
- To help students realize, that people can be healed, even when cure is not possible.
Case study 1: Mrs. Renu was a talented Senior Manager in a company. Her years of smoking caught up with her and she developed a large tongue base and tonsil cancer. Her surgery and radiation therapy were completely successful and her cancer was controlled. Nevertheless, she was overwhelmed by depression. She continued to smoke and drink, refused to go out in public, quit her job, and rejected any reference to God. She agonized over her appearance and speech. She refused to return for follow-up visits or counseling. She was eventually lost to follow up.
Case study 2: An oncologist tells of the story of an elderly lady he treated. Her cancer responded initially to the treatment and there was hope of a cure. She did well for several years. But, subsequently the cancer returned with a vengeance. She developed a series of secondary cancers. The oncologist tried everything possible but, she finally died of her cancer. The oncologist was distressed and felt a failure. He found it difficult to break the bad news to her. However, whenever he saw her on rounds, she would be cheerful and peaceful. A few days before her death she told the doctor, “Don’t worry doctor if you don’t cure me or your medicines- I am at peace with God and myself”.
Questions for discussion:
- Which of the patients, in your opinion was cured and/or healed? What contributed to the difference?
- Can all patients be cured by your treatment? Can something be done for the ones not cured?
- What can we do as Christian dentists or doctors?
- How can we become agents of healing?
Read: 2 Corinthians 12: 7-9; Luke 17:11-19
- What was Paul’s problem here?
- What was God’s response when he prayed for it to be removed?
- How did Paul reconcile with the issue?
- How many were healed in Luke 17:11-19?
CURING OR HEALING
- The first patient was cured of her cancer but was not healed. She found it difficult to come to terms with her cancer. She continued to smoke and drink and refused any help or counseling, including any reference to God.
The second lady was not cured of her cancer but she was healed. She was able to come to terms with her cancer and was peaceful, in spite of not being cured and facing death.
- We aim for both Cure and Healing, but we know that not all our patients will be cured. As doctors, we desire to decrease the suffering of our patients but eventually all will die. Some with cancer may die in 2 years while others may live for 20 years, but all will invariably die.
Yes something can be done for those not cured. They can be helped to view suffering from a different perspective and experience inner healing, though not cured of their physical illness.
- We can:
- Pray for their illness and encourage them also to pray for healing.
- Understand the meaning of suffering and that it’s not the end.
- Help them connect with God and see things from an eternal perspective.
- Develop hope in the midst of suffering.
- To be healed (though not cured), cope better and be a blessing to others, even in the midst of suffering.
- For us to be able to do this we need to
- Personally have a living and growing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Be healed ourselves of unforgiveness, bitterness, and revenge.
- Be able to clearly convey the message of hope to our patients.
- To have a Christian redemptive perspective of suffering and not a punitive view like other world-views (there is meaning for suffering in our lives and God can use it for our good).
“Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.” ―
Paul’s thorn in the flesh 2 Corinthians. 12: 7-9
- Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” for which he prayed to the Lord three times, that it might be removed.
What this thorn in the flesh means is not very clear. Commentators differ in their opinion. Baxter, who was subject himself to some such disorder, supposes that it might be a stone; Doddridge supposes that the view which he had of the glories of heavenly objects so affected his nerves as to produce a paralytic disorder, and particularly a stammering in his speech. Chrysostom and Jerome supposed that he meant the headache; Tertullian an earache; and Rosenmuller supposes that it was the gout in the head, ‘kopfgicht’ (German), and that it was a periodical disorder that affected him when he was in Galatia;
All we can gather is that, there was some infirmity of the flesh, some bodily affliction or calamity, that was like the continual piercing of the flesh with a thorn Galatians 4:13; and that it was something that was designed to prevent spiritual pride.
- He did not experience a cure to the problem from God. Rather, God reassured him that His grace and power was sufficient for him to face the problem and to go on with the infirmity.
- Though he still had the problem, Paul says that the power of Christ was sufficient for him to still go through life. He even says he will boast in his weakness that he can experience God’s power. “When I am weak, then I am strong”. Often God may not answer our prayers as we expect Him to. But one thing we can be assured is that, He will give us the strength and grace to go through any situation, however difficult it may be (1 Corinthians 10:13). Healing of a person is still possible when the cure may not be possible. People can experience deep peace and rest even when there is a problem. For example, Dr Mary Varghese in CMC Vellore (paraplegic), Joni Eareckson Tada(quadriplegic), Helen Keller (blind song writer) and Nick Vujicic (phacomelia) who became a source of blessing even when they did not experience a deliverance from their illnesses. This was possible because they had a personal relationship with God and they found their strength and courage from Him.
- All were cured of their leprosy and grateful. One came back and thanked Jesus Christ. He could see something higher than just his cure. He was the only one who was healed.
- Practice by the book- CMDA, US