Debra Chew: Just What Is The Best Medicine?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - by Debra Chew

Growing up, whenever I had a problem, my mom would often tell me, “laughter is the best medicine.”  And, that old adage would sometimes make me feel better. But, what truly is the “best” medicine for healing both body and soul?

Recently, at the 2017 Conference on Medicine and Religion in Houston, Texas, leading healthcare providers and representatives from various religious groups addressed that very question. In premiering his documentary, “Your Health: A Sacred Matter,” filmmaker Gerald Krell focused on stories from patients and health care providers who shared their views on why religion is important to health.   

While I find it encouraging to see some well-known scholars in the medical community appear to be embracing spirituality and its positive effects on the body, it seems to me that they simply view religion/spirituality as a way to cope with sickness and not as a reliable form of healing physical ills.

However, at the turn of the twentieth century, when medicine was certainly primitive, the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, organized “a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing.”

She saw, through Christ Jesus’ works – healing the sick, raising the dead and cleansing the lepers -- that “primitive Christianity” meant working things out spiritually instead of materially, looking to God as the source for healing. And in spite of modern advances in medical technology, spiritual healing is still relevant today, as one example I am about to relate shows.  

But while Christian Science certainly helps one cope with life’s challenges, its mission is not to simply provide temporary human assistance.  Eddy wrote, “From my very childhood I was impelled, by a hunger and thirst after divine things,—a desire for something higher and better than matter, and apart from it,—to seek diligently for the knowledge of God as the one great and ever-present relief from human woe."

A friend of mine experienced the relief that comes from turning to God for help. While in college, she became quite ill.  The physician who examined and treated her told the family there was nothing else that could be done and recommended they pray for her.  And, they did just that!  Turning to the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, they found the exact medicine my friend needed to be healed.

The family read how Jesus healed the blind, the deaf, and the crippled.  And they noted how Eddy herself, in reading about those healings at a critical time in her life, was healed of life-threatening effects of an injury through prayer alone.

That same healing “medicine” of humble effective prayer that was demonstrated by Christ Jesus is still healing people over 2000 years later.  It healed my friend completely when material medicine had nothing else to offer. Her family was certainly overjoyed when she was able to return to college.

If you are struggling in your search for the best medicine to help you with your problems, I am not suggesting you can laugh your challenges away.  But, there might just be something to the Bible verse “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Laughter can get your thought off of your problems - and that is a good place to start.  But there’s a big difference between understanding spiritual truth and mere positive thinking. The truth that Jesus said would make us free goes to the heart of whatever issues we’re dealing with, and that brings real healing.

Helpful scriptures such as “[nothing] shall be able to separate us from the love of God;” “cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;” (NIV) and “the joy of the Lord is your strength” are indeed healing medicine that you can turn to when you are suffering.  Try it!

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Debra Chew writes about the connection between thought, spirituality and wellness from a Christian Science perspective.  She has been published in USA Today, UK Health Triangle Magazine, chattanoogan.com, Knoxville News Sentinel, Memphis Commercial Appeal, and the Jackson Sun & JS Health Magazine.


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