Illness and Healing

Fred Smith walks us through his thinking on illness, healing and faith.

By Fred Smith

As my friend Jim Smith battles with pancreatic cancer I am inspired. Every situation is treated as a threat or a challenge. He has definitely taken it as a challenge

As I report on my last visit with him I would like for you to think of me today just as a staff officer who is making the press release for the battle. General Jim is the Schwarzkopf of this battle, and I am simply the reporter building a bridge of information between Jim and the class he loves so much.

When Jim told me he had this cancer he quickly said, "You know I'm a fighter." I do know that, because I have known Jim for many years before he came to Highland Park Presbyterian Church. He has always been known as a fighter — a doer more than a talker. Jim went on to say, "I'm not accepting statistics as the final answer."

I was reminded of a little story about my friend Miller Hunter of Genesco. Miller was badly shot up in the war and it was thought that he might not survive. In admitting him to the hospital the nurse of course had to complete the government form, which ended with this question: "Where shall we send the remains?" Miller firmly responded, "I'll take them with me when I leave." He did.

I personally believe the statistics on illness could certainly change dramatically if more had the faith to fight. I think our medical friends keep repeating how important the will to live is. Jim has that. I have been reading lately on research that shows those who have prayer support heal more quickly from surgery. Part of fighting is having the corps of believers joined in prayer, isn't it?

I visited with Jim shortly after his operation and realized that only his body was sick. His mind, emotions and spirit were healthy. They were going to combine in the effort to help his body heal.

Jim knows there are two ways this healing can take place:

1. Direct miracle -I firmly believe in all the miracles of the Bible and I believe there are occasional miracles in our life today. I certainly do not believe that everything called a miracle is one in the Biblical sense.. However, God decides miracles and he doesn't owe any one of us a miracle. In the scripture we see that miracles were done to glorify God. If Jim receives a direct miracle certainly we shall be all deeply grateful and will give God the glory.

 2. Process of Healing - which for most events in our life today is the way things are done. God chiefly works by process, and yet these processes are no less miraculous than the direct miracle. The perfection of the universe is miraculous. Yet we live with it every day and it becomes routine. I appreciate what one wise doctor said: "I treat the patient. God heals. "The process is far more than mechanical."

As your "communications officer" I can report to you that Jim is totally dedicated to this healing process because he knows that the outcome will result in his healing, whether here or in eternity. We can join him in the process as we enlist in the army of prayer warriors.