There are certain things which act as a catalyst to turning away from God and towards something else and one BIG catalyst is chronic illness! I recall an incident during a pain management workshop. At the first meeting everyone introduced themselves saying why they were there and what they wanted to gain from the sessions, after introducing herself one lady said that she would do anything to get better even voodoo! Nobody thought anything of it, some even laughed but I realised that the fact that she had said it out in the open meant that she considered it as a viable option. The truth is that this lady is not alone, many people who suffer with a chronic illness are literally willing to do almost anything to ease their pain and discomfort. I know this because I have been here.
Chronic illness is not only uncomfortable and painful, it is also tremendously frightening place to be because you no longer feel in control of your body. This of course has a knock on effect on your ability to control your thoughts and emotions and it is not uncommon for people with a chronic illness to feel helpless, hopeless, depressed and even suicidal. When someone is in a state of chronic illness their behaviour is regulated and controlled by an overwhelming desire to stop the pain and be well again. Taking this into consideration, it’s not hard to see how idolatry (turning to something else over God) is just a step away.
What do I mean by idolatry?
You don’t have to bow down to a molten or handmade image to idolise, we make something an idol when we believe it has the power to help, save, deliver and/or heal us. Looking back I realise that on my quest for healing I have made many things my idol and the desire for healing has led me to try things which if healthy I would not have touched at all. One particular area are treatments which allow people to lay their hands on you. I remember visiting a Cranial-sacral therapist, I only went because I was told that she was a Christian, after attending the session my symptoms actually worsened instead of getting better! After doing research and developing a deeper relationship with YHVH I began to understand that being a Believer isn’t about the label you give yourself but the way that you live your life. This was confirmed very recently whilst volunteering at a homeless shelter where I was introduced to a Reiki therapist. Not knowing much about it I asked her to tell me about what she does, she told me that Reiki is a form of spiritual healing using the hands (hovering or touching) where energy is drawn from the Earth or spiritual entities to aid healing. In addition to this, she told me that during the session and in her training she is taught to be come a vessel to channel energy from the spiritual world, and that she often channels ‘angels’ and that she has even channelled Jesus! But what surprised me the most was that she called herself a Christian!
Nowadays there are so many different routes for healing and when we are desperate it becomes easier for us to take a step that causes us to trust something else over God, we become persuaded that it can’t be wrong and before we know it we have entered into something which is potentially very harmful for us. Believe me, I’m not one of those people who says that you should suffer in silence or to not look outside of western medicine, in fact western medicine has become an idol in its own way! No! YHVH has definitely shown me and it is clear in His Word that He is not against physicians or biblical natural healing methods, His key concern is whether we begin to give them the power and authority to heal, save and deliver which comes from God alone. If you’ve ever felt the despair of being let down by some kind of intervention which you felt certain would be the thing to cure you and restore your health or have become addicted to a particular treatment to get you through the day, then you understand the power and authority we can give these ‘things’ over us. Idolatry doesn’t just offend YHVH, but He is jealous for our own complete well-being and desires to protect us against forming an alliance which has the ability to control and break us down.