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Sickness and Healing



There are 254,078 reported cases of AIDS worldwide; because of

underreporting, there are an estimated 600,000 total cases.  Nations with the most reported cases:  USA  126,127; Uganda 12,444; Zaire 11,732; Brazil 10,510; and France 8,883.

But, have you heard that the highest rate of Aids in the entire world is in New York City?  In New York City nearly one in every four men between the ages of 25 and 44 -- one in four -- is infected with the disease. -- Associated Press 5-23-90


Ministry to Terminally Ill

David Banner—the main character in the T.V. series “The Incredible Hulk”—in talking to a terminal cancer victim, told this story: “A man being chased by a tiger came to a cliff. In desperation he jumped and grabbed a solitary limb. Below him, a second tiger roared, waiting for his fall. Above him, the first tiger lashed out, barely missing its prey. As the branch suddenly began to pull away from the cliff, the helpless man noticed on the cliff in a patch of soil a single bright red strawberry on a lonely plant. Hanging there, he reached out, grabbed the fruit, and ate it. And, of, it tasted so good!”

Reach out for the strawberries. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Problem of Evil

Whatever the answer to why there is evil and suffering in the world, this much is true: God took his own medicine. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Purpose of Evil

A composer of a musical score sometimes includes some discords to create an overall pleasing effect. In a similar manner, God’s ultimate purpose for the world was best served by a plan that allowed for the presence and activity of evil. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Purpose of Pain

There is an ancient Chinese philosophy which says: “To be dry and thirsty in a hot and dusty land-and to feel great drops of rain on my bare skin-ah, is this not happiness? To have an itch in the private parts of my body-and finally to escape from my friends and to a hiding place where I can scratch-ah, is this not happiness?” Pain and pleasure are inextricably linked. The pleasure would not exist, or least be recognized, if it were not for pain.— Philip Yancey


Purpose of Pain

Pain can serve a definite purpose in our lives.

Dr. Paul Brand of Carville, Louisiana, one of the world’s foremost experts on leprosy, describes how “leprosy patients lose their fingers and toes, not because the disease can cause decay, but precisely because they lack pain sensations. Nothing warns them when water is too hot or a hammer handle is splintered. Accidental self-abuse destroys their bodies.”— Cited by Philip Yancey


Purpose of Pain

Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, and shouts in our pain. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.— C.S. Lewis



If Dracula were interested in drugstores, he'd shop at Sargent's in Chicago. In fact, store manager Harvey Snitman says he's more interested in selling leeches than pimple creams or mouthwash.

The worm-like creatures, which sport three razor-sharp teeth, are among the drugstore's hottest selling items. Though the store manager tries to stock about 100 of the wiggly, squiggly blood suckers at all times, he can easily sell that supply within a month or two. Known technically as Hirudo Medicinalus, or by Snitman as "Little Friendly Draculas," the medicinal leeches are primarily used by customers to withdraw blood from black eyes. But other shoppers, from as far away as New York, believe they relieve migraine headaches, phlebitis and the swelling of bruises.

The leeches, which the store imports from Russia, Poland and Hungary through a London broker, run about three to four inches long and retail for $6.50. While the price may seem steep, Snitman is quick to point out that the little creatures can be used more than once. After gorging itself on a luscious shiner, for example, a leech needs time to digest its intake before being called on again for service.

Physicians prescribed leeches widely until the late 1800's, but their popularity has dropped off since. So, if you're in the market and can't find them at your corner drugstore, stop by Sargent's. Just say Dracula sent you. 

Campus Life, January, 1980, p. 23.



According to a study published by Yale researchers in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a third of American doctors do not have a regular doctor, a ratio much higher than for the overall population.  As many as 18 percent of Americans do not have a regular source of health care.

The study found that pediatricians were the most likely to have a doctor, while internists, pathologists, and surgeons were much less likely to have a regular doctor.  

from The New York Times, Tuesday, December 12, 2000, p. D8.  


A severe rash prompted a man from a rural area to come to town to be examined by one of my colleagues. After the usual history-taking followed by a series of test, the physician advised the patient that he would have to get rid of the dog that was evidently causing the allergic reaction. As the man was preparing to leave the office, my colleague asked him out of curiosity if he planned to sell the animal or give it away. "Neither one," the patient replied. "I'm going to get me one of them second opinions I been reading about. It's a lot easier to find a doctor than a good bird dog." 

George Hawkins, M.D. in Medical Economics, in Reader's Digest, January, 1982.



During the days of the PTL Club television program: Patients in the psychiatric unit at Wilson Hospital, Johnson City, N.Y., are forbidden to watch "The PTL Club" television program because of what hospital officials describe as a "disturbing effect" on some patients. Dr. Q.D. Schubmehl, chairman of the psychiatric department, told a reporter for the Binghamton (N.Y.) Press that "many of our patients do have serious problems, and we found that (the PTL show) was exaggerating pre-existing symptoms." According to Dr. Schubmehl, the program promotes the idea that "if you had faith, you wouldn't be sick." He said that "the suggested interpretation by patients is one of anit-physician and anti-medical. Maybe, it's not anti-physician or anti-medical, but it at least puts things in a way that you can get better through faith alone."

Eternity, May, 1979, p. 12.



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"Lord, whose spirit is so good and so gentle in all things, and who art so compassionate that not only all prosperity but even all afflictions that come to Thine elect are the results of Thy compassion: grant me grace that I may not do as the pagans do in the condition to which thy justice has reduced me; grant that as a true Christian I may recognize Thee as my father and as my God, in whatever estate I find myself, since the change in my condition brings no change in Thy own. For Thou are the same, though I be subject to change, and Thou art God no less when Thou dost afflict and when Thou dost punish, than when Thou dost console and when Thou dost manifest indulgence. Thou hadst given me health that I might serve Thee, and I have profaned it; now Thou dost send me illness to correct my ways: do not permit me to use it to anger Thee by my impatience. I have misused my health, and Thou hast justly punished me for it; do not suffer me to misuse thy punishment.

B. Pascal.