In the midst of his normal routine of work, Jeffrey suddenly felt fever rising in his system. This is unusual as he rarely gets sick. Jeffrey didn’t tell anyone at that time as he continued on his work; he didn’t rest and he didn’t bother taking any medications. When the fever got worse, Jeffrey decided to pull out his spiritual rank as a child of the most high God through Jesus Christ and fervently prayed for healing. The fever only got worse and by the time he was rushed to the hospital, his appendix have already burst.
So, what happened here? Amidst all his ‘faith’, Jeffrey was let down and was allowed to suffer. Similar to Jeffrey, a lot of people believe that prayers alone can solve their problems. Before I go on, I have to clarify that I personally agree with the powers of prayer, I do believe in the existence (even the pre-eminence) of the spiritual realm and I do believe in spiritual warfare. The problem is that, although the spiritual dimension is real and true, it doesn’t negate the reality and the truth that WE ARE STILL IN THIS PHYSICAL WORLD. This means that we are not above the physical laws – we are subjected to it. Because of this, our physical needs have to be addressed. If these physical needs aren’t addressed, there will be dire consequences:
If you don’t eat – you will get hungry
If you don’t work – you will be poor
If you don’t rest – you will burn out
For husbands and wives, if you don’t communicate properly with each other, the marriage will fall apart.
If you go to the casino thinking that your faith will prosper you – you will lose your money.
When they landed, they saw a charcoal fire there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus told them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
– John 21:9-10
A good image I can share to respond to this issue of over-spiritualizing is Jesus cooking fish for his disciples. I want to make it clear that this is not merely the Son of Man Jesus Christ before the cross (who was made a little lower than angels). The Person we see grilling the fishes is the risen Jesus Christ who has been elevated far beyond everything. Yet, we see Him cooking a physical meal for His loved ones. Jesus did not snap His fingers and eliminate their physical hunger forever, Jesus did not tell them to glorify this suffering as a good illustration of the hunger of their spirits. Jesus Christ Himself cooked fish for His beloved disciples who were tired and hungry after a day’s work. God knows our needs and He is more than happy to take care of them (Philippians 4:19, Matthew 6:32). God Himself will not ignore our physical needs, why should we? It is our responsibility to address our personal needs physical or otherwise; anything else would just be laziness.
When you deal with your problems through physical means, it doesn’t mean that you are excluding God from the picture. It is not a lack of faith. Going to the doctor when you are sick may in fact be the act of faith and obedience in itself. I do not see any problem for God to send us a competent doctor to tend to our medical needs such as the one needed by Jeffrey (nothing serious happened to him by the way). The important thing here is that we hear The Lord and we obey Him. That becomes the spiritual act; that of hearing The Shepherd and obeying His words.
By all means keep on praying, keep on communing with The Lord. It doesn’t end there. It is a dynamic, active, and fun relationship with Jesus. If He tells you to eat, then we eat. If He tells you to seek a doctor, then seek a doctor. If He tells you to plan your business, then plan your business. Our physical and earthly problems have physical and earthly roots which should be addressed. We are not of this world, but yet, we are still in it. For now.