Today is a holiday of "Thanksgiving" for many people in the United States. However, I think it is important to understand that this is not a day of Thanksgiving for many people, but a day of mourning. Dr. Gary Kohl has reminded us that Native Americans are not fond of Thanksgiving. Here is the text of a plaque that overlooks Plymouth Rock, the site where Puritans first landed on Native American soil that explains why Thanksgiving has only negative connotations for non-whites: "Since 1970, Native Americans have gathered at noon on Cole's Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US Thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. To them, Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the relentless assault on their culture. Participants in a National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today." If you are fortunate enough to be able to spend Thanksgiving with family members, you truly do have something to be thankful about. But for multitudes in the United States today, holidays like Thanksgiving are simply grim reminders of crimes committed against them that destroyed their families. It is very easy to look at the condition of our culture today, to see the injustice and abuses occurring on a daily basis, and lose hope. Why should one be thankful in the face of terrible injustice, where evil flourishes with seemingly no end in sight, and where it appears that there is no way to fight the corruption that is now the norm? Yet, there is still reason to be thankful...
Who do you run to first when you are sick? Who do you trust to bring you healing? Do you seek first the Creator of the universe who made you and knows you better than anyone else, or do you turn first to "health experts" who may or may not know you, and who can usually only deal with health on a physical level based on human knowledge? Do you willingly pay huge sums of money to these "health experts" for access to their limited knowledge? Who do you trust the most?
Are you facing trials through sickness today? How are you handling it? Can you look at it in a positive light as Paul looked at his sickness, and find some reasons why God may be allowing you to go through these trials? Or do you look at your sickness the way the world does, the way people who walk in darkness with a Darwinian evolutionary basis of life view sickness? In this view, God’s plan and purposes are not even considered, and sickness is seen as strictly a physical condition caused by natural forces that can only be cured through the purchase of medicine or medical services.
Are you a “model believer?” This passage gives us a good description of what was considered a “model believer” in the early church. It was someone who turned away from idols (and idolatry) to serve the living and true God. It was someone who set their hope for the future on Jesus, and his eventual return to earth to one day set up his physical kingdom here.
If we actually received what we deserve, it would be very ugly. But the good news is that mercy triumphs over judgment under the law of liberty, and opens the door to wonders and riches that are freely given in spite of the fact that we do not deserve them. Enacting this principle in your own life releases tremendous power for health to you, and to those around you.
While there certainly can be physical causes of sickness that can be addressed in the physical realm, we see continually throughout the history recorded in the Bible that sickness is often the result of a spiritual problem: our sin. If the cause is spiritual, the solution and the healing are spiritual also. Seeking physical remedies will not result in healing if the problem is a spiritual problem.
There is a lot of debate today over the meaning of the word “natural” in certain circles, particularly in the marketing of food products. What the word “natural” means in communication depends on the understanding of the one using the term. For those starting from a Darwinian presupposition, for example, it means something like the “natural” course of the way things evolved. “Natural” in this sense is the result of random processes absent from any intelligence guiding it. For those starting from a creation or intelligent design presupposition, “natural” means something related to a design principle, and what the designer intended. Science, in the strictest sense of the word, cannot prove either starting presupposition. Both positions start with a belief about what is true. When we come to the term supernatural, however, there is no serious debate as to what the term means. The only debate is whether or not it occurs in real life.