The doctor’s office is frustrating. There is a lot of sitting and waiting as we try to use all the resources available to us explain one simple fact; something in our bodies seems wrong. In turn a medical practitioner tries to interpret our words into a list of symptoms that can be then used to help them determine what is happening. The frustration lies in the fact that we can’t see what is wrong. Our fever, or headache, etcetera could be caused by one of a long list of illnesses; some that don’t even have physical cause, but rather a psychological one. Additionally, many of these illnesses require their own unique set of treatments. There is no little pill that treats all fevers, no herbal tea that cures every headache, nor any diet regiment that resolves all stomachaches. We know and doctors know that simply treating the symptoms will likely do nothing to treat an underlying condition and could in turn cause more problems in our bodies by masking the blatant alerts that are telling us something is out of balance. Thus, the sitting and waiting and testing is all necessary to ensure that our symptoms don’t become an undiagnosed illness resulting in late and less effective treatment.
This inconvenience is part of the human condition; a result of living in a fallen world with bodies that are imperfect. Our souls are similarly imperfect and subject to problems. Our sins are symptoms of an underlying spiritual disease. However, our actions to resolve such issues are many times counter intuitive. We believe we could just stop being so angry, just stop drinking, or just stop making mistakes everything will be okay. Our spiritual practitioners tell us if we just loved God more everything would be better. That is no more effective than telling someone if they could just be healthy everything will work out. The product is a group of sickly Christians who are unable to carry out the work of Christ with the consistency and passion that comes with maturity. Some have taken an Advil and feeling asymptomatic happily live a Christian life that consists solely of going to church on Sundays and Wednesday. They don’t have any problems at work, their home life is stable, and their health is good; therefore they are deemed spiritually healthy. Is that health as Christ describes it though? They don’t suffer as others, who have taken medicine with no avail and struggle frustratingly to make things in their life better- many times not even knowing what better truly means. If both live at an arm’s length from Christ; failing to share Christ with others, are either of them truly spiritually healthy?
We must ask ourselves, why is symptom masking the preferred method of treatment in the church at large? Do we or do we not serve the Great Physician?