Effective functioning as Christians is only possible if we learn to view health as God has revealed in the Bible. A fragmented view of person and community will never restore wholeness to either. While we know that God’s ultimate plan for physical and spiritual wholeness will not be perfectly complete until the next life, God intends restoration and wholeness in a less complete sense for us on earth.
Building on 6 basic assumptions, Dr. Fountain works through several Biblical principles which deserve our attention. He begins with the need for community involvement in health. Since our concern is for the health of people, these people must be involved in their health care from beginning to end. Their knowledge of not only their problems, but as important, their resources, must be engaged in decisions and activities moving toward health. The Biblical term “shalom” includes both health of the individual but also the health of the relationships in community.
A Biblical view of health care also includes the goal of whole person restoration. Rather than focusing on individual parts or body systems, whole person restoration addresses their heart and mind and relationships as well. Only with this intent can Biblical “shalom” be approached.
This Biblical approach sounds daunting and it is. No one person can be a community or meet the needs of whole person restoration. A team of different skills and callings is necessary. This team must also include God through His Spirit.
The restoration of relationships is necessary for the shalom of the community mentioned earlier. Relationships must be both human centered and spiritual as well. With other humans, forgiveness is often needed while bitterness must be addressed. With God, again restoring relationship with our creator through forgiveness is critical. The health care provider must help the sick person in this area as well.
A Biblical approach must also consider the emotions produced by the evil of suffering. Pain and illness produce an emotional component in suffering. Fear, anxiety, anger and other emotions must be faced rather than ignored. Only by facing these emotions with compassion, integrity and respect can we help the sick find good in the midst of suffering’s evil effects.
An attitude of service is also required. Out of compassion comes this attitude of serving the suffering for their benefit and not just for ours. We must strike a balance between monetary gain and service to others. Here, I would add that all Christians have a calling in life to serve. This is not limited to health care. At the same time, we can hope for financial reward for the work we do for one another. A balance is essential and we should be cautious about guilting someone for expecting payment for health care services they provide.
These principles end with the ultimate goal of caring for others…leading them to a right relationship with God which results in an eternity of fully restored health. Our aim is not just the temporal and physical but the eternal.
Even with these principles, we will never fully understand health as does God. We may look upon its majestic slopes, explore its depths, but always be left with some mystery. We can study, analyze, and understand, but always end in this mystery