When I practiced medicine, especially in the ICU, I realised that there was so much more to healing than what I was giving my patients. In fact, it was precisely that that brought me to God. I had worked for weeks in ICU battling to save the life of a man who had been drinking, took to the freeway after an argument with his wife and smashed into a bridge upright. After pouring weeks of time, effort and expertise into saving him, he went on to divorce his wife and drink even more.
Conventional medicine deals with the body in a purely physical way, but the Bible tells us we are spirit, soul and body. 1Thess. 5:23 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is only recently that science is coming to appreciate how very indivisible these aspects of us are.
I have decided to write a series of articles on this subject which is close to my heart and this is the first introductory one.
Dr Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, tells us that our thoughts, far from being fleeting and immaterial, can actually be observed in the brain. They create little branches that grow on the nerve cells in our brain. Good, positive thoughts of love and wholesomeness in line with the Word of God cause healthy, harmonious branches to grow, while negative thoughts cause chaotic, distorted branches. And now scientists are learning how this can affect us physically.
Our DNA carries genes that control how things are made and how the cells react in our bodies. Did you know that every cell carries the same information in its DNA? So a kidney cell, for example, carries the same information as a lung cell. But they have to function differently, so how does that work? There are modifiers in the cell, but outside the nucleus that switch on the right genes for, say, the kidney in a kidney cell and switch off those that only apply to a lung cell. (the science behind this is called epigenetics). Now, your brain (as well as things like diet and toxins in the air) can affect which genes are switched on or off. If you have good healthy harmonious branches growing in your brain from positive thoughts, all the right genes are switched on.
Prov.14:30 “A heart at peace gives life to the body”
Prov.15:30 “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.”
But if you have ugly, distorted branches from feeding your mind with negative thoughts, watching the wrong kind of movies, indulging in self-pity, holding resentment or envy or unforgiveness etc., this can turn off the genes that should be switched on for a healthy cell, and turn on others that should be switched off.
Prov.14:30 “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
Prov.17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Prov.18:14 “A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?”
The bone marrow is where our immune response cells form. It is common knowledge now that stress diminishes our immune response.
These scriptures are not just metaphors. They describe what actually happens.
Apart from opening a patient’s heart to God and paving the way for a miracle, can you see how praying for a sick person can affect him/her physically in a positive way and promote healing?
I will continue this subject in my next post.
Meantime, I’d truly value any comments, testimonies or opinions.