1. A CHANGE IN HUMAN HEALTH
a. Describe the human health condition before the Fall. Genesis 1:26, 27, 31.
“As man came forth from the hand of his Creator, he was of lofty stature and perfect symmetry. His countenance bore the ruddy tint of health and glowed with the light of life and joy.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 45.
“The fact that [man] has for six thousand years withstood the ever-increasing weight of disease and crime is conclusive proof of the power of endurance with which he was first endowed.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 1, p. 1082.
b. How did human health gradually deteriorate after the Fall? Genesis 11:28; Psalm 90:10; John 5:3.
“Deformity, imbecility, disease, and human suffering have been pressing heavier and heavier upon each successive generation since the Fall, and yet the masses are asleep as to the real causes. They do not consider that they themselves are guilty, in a great measure, for this deplorable state of things. They generally charge their sufferings upon Providence, and regard God as the author of their woes. But it is intemperance, to a greater or less degree, that lies at the foundation of all this suffering.”—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 411.
2. THE DESIRE OF THE SICK
a. What is the (sometimes unuttered) cry of every sick person who has not yet been forsaken by the Holy Spirit? Matthew 8:2; Mark 10:47.
“How often those who are in health forget the wonderful mercies that are continued to them day by day, year after year. They render no tribute of praise to God for all His benefits. But when sickness comes, God is remembered. The strong desire for recovery leads to earnest prayer, and this is right. God is our refuge in sickness as in health.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 315.
b. Even when the sick seem to have no desire for healing (such as when addicted to drugs or other vices), what is sometimes the reality? Luke 8:27–29.
“With authority [Jesus] bade the unclean spirits come out of [the demoniacs of Gadara). His words penetrated the darkened minds of the unfortunate men. They realized dimly that One was near who could save them from the tormenting demons. They fell at the Saviour’s feet to worship Him; but when their lips were opened to entreat His mercy, the demons spoke through them. [Luke 8:28 quoted]”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 337, 338.
c. What common desire should we have for those who are closest to us? 3 John 2. Who else shares this desire? John 5:6.
“God desires us to reach the standard of perfection made possible for us by the gift of Christ. He calls upon us to make our choice on the right side, to connect with heavenly agencies, to adopt principles that will restore in us the divine image. In His written word and in the great book of nature He has revealed the principles of life. It is our work to obtain a knowledge of these principles, and by obedience to cooperate with Him in restoring health to the body as well as to the soul.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 114, 115.
“God desires His light bearers ever to keep a high standard before them. By precept and example they must hold this perfect standard high above Satan’s false standard, which, if followed, will lead to misery, degradation, disease, and death for both body and soul.”—The Review and Herald, November 12, 1901.
3. GOD’S ANSWER
a. What appeal does Christ make to us today? Matthew 11:28–30. Does this apply only to our spiritual health?
“Our Saviour’s words, ‘Come unto Me, . . . and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28), are a prescription for the healing of physical, mental, and spiritual ills. Though men have brought suffering upon themselves by their own wrongdoing, He regards them with pity. In Him they may find help. He will do great things for those who trust in Him.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 115.
“True religion and the laws of health go hand in hand. It is impossible to work for the salvation of men and women without presenting to them the need of breaking away from sinful gratifications, which destroy the health, debase the soul, and prevent divine truth from impressing the mind. Men and women must be taught to take a careful review of every habit and practice, and at once put away those things that cause an unhealthy condition of the body, and thus cast a dark shadow over the mind.”—Counsels on Health, p. 445.
b. From where does healing power come? John 5:21; Malachi 4:2.
“When the gospel is received in its purity and power, it is a cure for the maladies that originated in sin. The Sun of Righteousness arises, ‘with healing in His wings’ (Malachi 4:2). Not all that this world bestows can heal a broken heart, or impart peace of mind, or remove care, or banish disease. Fame, genius, talent—all are powerless to gladden the sorrowful heart or to restore the wasted life. The life of God in the soul is man’s only hope.
“The love which Christ diffuses through the whole being is a vitalizing power. Every vital part—the brain, the heart, the nerves—it touches with healing. By it the highest energies of the being are roused to activity. It frees the soul from the guilt and sorrow, the anxiety and care, that crush the life forces. With it come serenity and composure. It implants in the soul, joy that nothing earthly can destroy—joy in the Holy Spirit—health-giving, life-giving joy.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 115.
4. CHRIST, OUR EXAMPLE IN HEALTH WORK
a. What was the prophesied work of Christ? Isaiah 61:1–3. How did He fulfill this prophecy? Mark 1:32–34.
“During His ministry Jesus devoted more time to healing the sick than to preaching. His miracles testified to the truth of His words, that He came not to destroy but to save. His righteousness went before Him, and the glory of the Lord was His rearward. . . . As He passed through the towns and cities He was like a vital current, diffusing life and joy wherever He went.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 350.
“Our Lord Jesus Christ came to this world as the unwearied servant of man’s necessity. He ‘took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses,’ that He might minister to every need of humanity (Matthew 8:17). The burden of disease and wretchedness and sin He came to remove. It was His mission to bring to men complete restoration; He came to give them health and peace and perfection of character.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 17.
b. How did Christ show the relationship between the spiritual and the physical nature of humanity? John 5:14.
“To many of the afflicted ones who received healing, Christ said, ‘Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee’ (John 5:14). Thus He taught that disease is the result of violating God’s laws, both natural and spiritual. The great misery in the world would not exist did men but live in harmony with the Creator’s plan.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 824.
“The violation of physical law, with its consequent suffering and premature death, has so long prevailed that these results are regarded as the appointed lot of humanity; but God did not create the race in such a feeble condition. This state of things is not the work of Providence, but of man. It has been brought about by wrong habits—by violating the laws that God has made to govern man’s existence. A continual transgression of nature’s laws is a continual transgression of the law of God. Had men always been obedient to the law of the Ten Commandments, carrying out in their lives the principles of those precepts, the curse of disease now flooding the world would not exist.”—Counsels on Health, pp. 19, 20.
5. COWORKERS WITH GOD
a. What work does Christ entrust to His disciples today? Matthew 10:7, 8.
“The followers of Christ are to labor as He did. We are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the suffering and afflicted. We are to minister to the despairing, and inspire hope in the hopeless. . . . The missionary cannot only relieve physical maladies, but he can lead the sinner to the Great Physician, who can cleanse the soul from the leprosy of sin.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 350, 351.
b. What should those who are consecrated to God remember when plagued by discontentment, unthankfulness, or even unbelief? Isaiah 42:4; 53:3; John 6:38.
“Trials and obstacles are the Lord’s chosen methods of discipline and His appointed conditions of success.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 471.
“We need to beware of self-pity. Never indulge the feeling that you are not esteemed as you should be, that your efforts are not appreciated, that your work is too difficult. Let the memory of what Christ has endured for us silence every murmuring thought. We are treated better than was our Lord. ‘Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not’ (Jeremiah 45:5). The Lord has no place in His work for those who have a greater desire to win the crown than to bear the cross.”—Ibid., p.476.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What is the cause of much of the sickness and suffering today?
2. In which two situations should we think of God as our refuge?
3. What is our part in the healing process?
4. If we continually transgress nature’s laws, what are we actually doing, and what will be the result?
5. What are some of the obstacles we will encounter in the medical missionary work, and how can we overcome them?