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In Theory:

God’s medical intervention

September 20, 2008

In a recent study, 57% of randomly surveyed adults said God’s intervention could save a deathly ill family member even if physicians said treatment would be futile. However, just under 20% of doctors and other medical workers said God could reverse a helpless outcome. Given this gap, how can someone discuss God with their physician?

Talk to your doctors with confidence. They are experts in medicine; you are an expert in what you believe and what God has done for you. As you “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” you will develop boldness and trust in the Lord that will direct your decisions and flow out in your conversations with others.

Talk to your doctors on a personal level. They are fellow human beings who have families, joys and sorrows and possibly even faith like your own. Paul developed a strong friendship with Luke, whom he called “the beloved physician.” At the end of his life, when all others had abandoned him in prison, Paul remarked, “Only Luke is with me.” Your doctor might very well be with you until the end of your life. Friends often disagree, but they remain agreeable and personal with one another.

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Talk to your doctors with respect. Most are highly intelligent and well-studied. All are created in the image of God and are greatly loved by Him. Respectful speech and behavior toward others gains respectful hearing and treatment from others. Respect wins over others who have initially disagreed with you.

PASTOR JON BARTA

Valley Baptist Church

Burbank

Judaism teaches that a human is an extremely powerful being, and a fundamental part of our belief system is that God listens to our prayers. We believe that it’s possible to positively change even the most dire prognosis through prayer. Even when the forces of nature call for death, we can successfully beseech God to transform it to life. It is therefore no surprise that during a health crisis, many religious Americans turn to God and pray for assistance.

We are also taught that physicians are authorized by God to heal. However, they are not empowered to predict the end of life. Authority over life rests in God’s hands — as Job states, “God gives, God takes.”

I believe that it is counterproductive for a doctor to play God by telling a patient that a situation is hopeless.

Numerous studies have shown that a person’s attitude during a health crisis can strongly influence the ultimate outcome.

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