But, now, we come direct to the question: what about the use of means? And the answer is simple. And it is an answer that answers. There need be no evasion here, smothered up in foggy rhetoric.
The answer is this: ask Christ. Get in touch, if not already so. And then when the need comes ask Him. He will tell you. And if you are in touch, and you will listen quietly, you'll hear His answer, clear and simple and positive.
The dominant law of the Christian life, do you know what it is? This: obedience to the Holy Spirit's leading. This takes the first place, always. When there is any conflict this law displaces all others.
Perhaps you ask, but how shall one know just what His leading is? And that question has already been answered in that bit on keeping in touch. Four things were named for keeping in touch with Christ, act, purpose, habit, attitude.
That's the answer here. In that habitual touch we will know clearly just what the Holy Spirit would have us do. And as we do what He tells us things will clear up for us yet more.
Christ heals through means and the skilled human expert, sometimes. He heals without these, sometimes. He heals when the physician frankly confesses his inability to cure. And sometimes He heals by overcoming and counter acting the physician and the means used.
Ask Him. He's there by your side, inside. He's intensely interested. He's eager to tell you what to do. In this He is a true physician, for He advises.
And, if it may be through means, remember it is His touch through the needed means that is effective. And His own personal direct touch is more, much more, than the means or the expert human counsel that He may know your body stands in need of.
The wise physician is an expert in the body, its functions and its needs. Your body may be needing something it isn't getting, may be needing it very badly.
Modern cookery, with some exceptions, is washing out of the food chemical salts and other nourishment that our bodies need for health and strength.
Modern commercialism, for just one instance now, is milling out of the wheat much, indeed most, of what the Creator put in to meet our bodily needs.
No nations are better fed than these two English-speaking nations. Yet, as a matter of mere sober fact, with loaded tables, our bodies are being hurt, crippled, starved, for lack of needed nourishment.
The Creator has put into the foods what our bodies need. We wash it out, or mill it out, or otherwise put or leave it out.
The physician may find our bodies ailing sorely for lack of some element the food we eat should give, but doesn't. It does not matter what you call it, if it actually supplies what is lacking.
It is clearly the particular kind of nourishment the body needs and isn't getting. The physician-expert, if he be wise enough, may help us live more in accord with the laws of our bodies commonly called the laws of health.
A simple striking incident is told of Leo Thirteenth. He was elected pope in his later sixties. He was very frail in health. It is said that he was finally elected after a long contest because it was thought he could not live long.
And then other plans could mature, and other ambitions among his electors could be achieved. So it was said. He outlived the entire College of Cardinals that elected him, finally dying in his ninety-fourth year, and remarkable for his intellectual vigour and his masterful grip on his policies to the end.
And he himself explained the human side of such a long life in spite of his extreme physical disabilities. He said he was not an expert in the knowledge of his body. He had a physician to advise him about the care of his body.
He followed faithfully the regimen of food, exercise, sleep and so on prescribed for him. Clearly he must have had a really wise skilled physician. And he attributed to this his remarkable mental vigour clear to the end of his unusually long life.
We may be disobeying flagrantly some law of our bodies. Obedience is the universal law of all life. There can't be health and vigour of body without intelligent obedience to its laws.
We are all fairly ignorant, for intelligent people really remarkably ignorant, in this regard. In the bodily emergency that has arisen there may be need of expert advice and guidance.
One at once remembers that this thoughtful intelligent obedience to the laws of the body is strictly in accord with God's general line of action. He loves nature's roads. He made them. They are sufficient for all common use.
We are supposed to use our thinking apparatus. Really, regeneration means a new mental birth as well as a new spirit birth.
But that's another story. Yet, be it keenly noted, in the emergency the supernatural swings into action. And life is full of emergencies.
I recall a friend in one of our leading Eastern cities. She was suffering severely at the time from some bodily ailment. She prayed repeatedly for healing, but it didn't come. And she wondered why. She was not conscious of any hindrance in her spirit life.
She had experienced healing by divine touch in answer to prayer more than once. She was in fellowship with a group of earnest saintly people who taught that the use of physician and means showed a lack of faith in Christ.
Puzzled, she went again to her knees in special prayer. As plain as could be the impression came, as distinct as a voice, to consult a certain physician. He was a Christian, who had formerly served in her family. And my impressions is that he was sympathetic with the teaching of healing by Christ direct touch.
Thee was a hesitancy about consulting a physician because of the teaching of the group of Christians with whom she was in fellowship. But that impression persisted, and was quite clear. She knew it was an answer, thus far, to her prayer.
She consulted the physician and in response to his questions told her story. He asked her what she ate. She said she could nothing but dry toast and tea. He told her these were poison to her body in its present condition.
He gave her no medicine, simply directions about food and about the care of her body. She followed his expert advice, continued praying, and she quickly was quite well again.
Clearly enough she needed advice to help her obey intelligently the law of the body. Through the advice, and the obedience, and Christ's touch, the healing came. Ask Him. He'll tell you.
If one can imagine the supernatural healing touch given unwisely it is clear that it would confirm us in our ignorant or wilful disobedience to the law of our bodies.
Then another crisis comes, and another healing, and so on. Could anything be more abnormal? What a childish level of action! Instead Christ would lead us up to the level of intelligent mature action.
A friend, who bears an honored name in earnest Christian circles, in our of our prominent cities, told me this simple bit out of her experience.
Her daughter, when a little baby, was suffering much from an earache, and crying piteously. The simple things she did for the child brought no relief.
Distressed in heart over her child's acute suffering she sent up a silent, earnest prayer for help. And she said to me, in her quiet, thoughtful way, that as clear as could be an inner voice said, "Put her feet in hot water."
The child's feet were hardly in the hot water when the crying ceased, a look of relief came into the dear little facem and the needed sleep had already come before the feet were dried.
The hot water drew the excess of blood away from the ear. Is is not winsome bit in its sheer homeliness out of the Book of Life? How homely, in His sane, practical touch, is the blessed Holy Spirit.
Ask Christ. He'll be glad to tell you. But you must be careful to obey, simply, intelligently, fully. Failure to obey dulls the ears. You won't be so keen to hear next time He speaks.
I recall one time my back hurt me very much. The ache seemed always there. I knew I had a been a sinner in the matter of overwork. But I had repented, and was trying to put my penitence into shoes. Still the nagging pain persisted.
Years of travel, and of reading and writing on trains, had led to the habit of stooping. It was abnormal. My back was protesting. The vital organs within were being crowded. Pain is always a danger-signal, graciously warning us. At once I began straightening up, and I have been straightening up ever since. The pain quickly left.
The Holy Spirit is so practical. He's a real Friend. He wants to help. He helpeth our infirmities, of all sorts. Ask Christ. He'll tell you. And you'll hear if your ear is open, and your inner spirit quiet enough.
Do you remember the homely bit in the story of the healing of Hezekiah? (2Ki_20:1-18; Isa_38:1-8; Isa_38:21). In answer to his pleading prayer Isaiah is sent with a message.
And this is part of what he said, "Take a cake of figs, and lay it for a plaster on the boil, and he will recover."
Then there was the supernatural shift backward of the shadow on the sun dial as an indication that God was actually at work on his behalf. What an exquisite blend of the homely and the divine, the natural and the supernatural!
There was something Hezekiah's body needed that human hands could do. There was something else needed in his body that only God's touch could reach. The poultice did what it could. God's touch did what no poultice could have done. Both are used.
God loves nature's roads. But He unhesitatingly gives the more-than-natural touch when need be. Ask Him. He'll tell you. Then be sure you give Him the praise, as Hezekiah failed to do when his royal guest came from a far country.
One can understand that God moved the King of Babylon to come when he heard of Hezekiah's remarkable healing. Hezekiah failed God, and failed his visitor, too.