There's a fellowship of saintly Christian people who, among other blessed truths, teach healing by Christ's direct touch. Their testimony and activity have been graciously owned and used by God throughout the homeland and the foreign-mission world.
They insist that no means be used. It is a common word among them that to consult a physician and to use means reveal a lack of faith.
One is reluctant to say a word that even seems critical of such a saintly consecrated folk. Yet, clearly such condemnation of means is not according to the teaching of Scripture, nor the Holy Spirit's leading, nor God's general dealing with men, nor according to good sanctified common sense. The Holy Spirit's leading is the one touchstone of what to do.
It is striking that the most prominent false system of healing today, distinctly non-Christian, though using Christian phraseology, makes this same insistence on not using any material help of any sort. It is the one point of contact between two groups diametrically opposed at every other point.
One needs to avoid extremes. The sanity of the Holy Spirit awes. If one may say it with utmost reverence, the Holy Spirit is always so sane. There is no one so sane as the man actually under the control of the Holy Spirit. It's a touchstone. Saintliness and sanity naturally go together.
Faith Street is on the top of a hill. There are two roads slanting down on opposite sides, down to the lowlands and swamps.
On one side is Doubt Street. The slant down is scarcely noticeable at the first. It is so slight. And there are unseen traffic men always trying, by this means or that, to start you off that way, if ever so little at first.
On the opposite side of the hill is Queer Street. Its slant downward is almost none at all at the first. Still it's there.
Queer Street has a large number of one-room bungalows. So many personally lovely saintly people associate, all alone, each with himself, down there.
The only proper place to live is up on the top of the hill on Faith Street. The air is bracing there. Fogs and clouds are blown away.
Indeed some object that the air is too sharp. It's a searching air, they say. And then, they say, it's such a steep slant up to the top. It pulls your strength so, and takes your breath getting up.
But those who live there habitually talk much of the bracing quality of the atmosphere. The view is very clear, and far, and unobstructed. And there's a wondrous wind-harp on the top, whose soft rhythmic chordings refresh and strengthen.
Let us each one hire a moving van, if need be, and move up the steep slope to the top of the hill, and settle down up on Faith Street, and refuse to be budged down either way by the insistent traffic man.
It is interesting to notice that it is entirely possible to be both sane and saintly. No one is so sane as one actually swayed by the Holy Spirit in his mental processes, as well as in the habit of his life.
Keeping in touch with Christ through the Book, and the knees, and the habitual recognition of His presence, and keeping in touch with other humans, this keeps one wholesomely sane. It seasons both spirit and mental judgment.
Then, when any need arises, the first thing is to ask Him, Christ, for the healing touch, and to ask Him what to do, if anything.
He guides us in the use of our common sense. The man surrendered in heart and will the Holy Spirit guides in thinking things through, and in knowing what to do (Psa_25:9).
It ought to be the blessed commonplace that all bodily ailments, slight or serious, be prayed over the first thing.
I remember a gentle-faced young mother in the West, with two or three young children. She quietly said that as ailments arose with any of the children she always prayed with them, simply, briefly. And she knew, she said, what a practical difference it made.
If it's a serious case, perhaps a chronic case already in hand, the thing is to have a bit of quiet time alone with Christ over His book. Have a bit of getting in touch afresh.
Ask Christ. Wait quietly for His answer. Cultivate the quiet inner spirit. Ask expectantly, remembering that it is His first will to heal. He is willing to heal, and more is eager to heal. Reach out your hand and take all His Pierced Hand is reaching down to give.
A friend told me of having some trouble which seemed quite serious. She went to consult a physician in whom she had confidence, in a nearby city.
After a thorough examination he was quite sure she had cancer in her breast, and strongly advised an operation. There was then in session in the city a gathering of physicians and surgeons. A certain eminent surgeon was in attendance. Arrangements could be made for the operation by this specialist.
But there was a restraint within, my friend said, a restraint in her inner spirit, quite distinct. She did not agree. The physician deprecated delay, and plainly said it would be foolish not to do as he suggested, and at once. It was a peculiarly fortunate opportunity to have this visiting surgeon so immediately available, he said.
But the woman had prayed much before the consultation. The inner impression was clear. She returned home. And she prayed now with a clear knowledge of her serious need.
She asked definitely for Christ healing touch. And she quietly told me that the lumps, and the sense of distress, gradually and completely left. This had been some years before. There had been no return of the trouble.
It was particularly interesting that she had no special contact at that time with those who taught healing. Many years before there had been such contact. As the trouble developed she remembered what she had heard long before.
And now without any special prayer with others, or conference, she simply pled the promise of the Book and asked for the healing, and it came. She is thoughtful, quiet, earnest Christian woman, now past their prime of years, with no marked gift of leadership.
Another friend had the beginning of what looked like cancer on her lower brow, plainly marked. The physician advised an operation, and feared that without it one eye would almost certainly be involved, and probably its sight lost. But she obeyed the inner restraint, not to have the operation.
My wife and I prayed with her, and later, at her request, I anointed her with oil, and again we prayed. The cancer never developed beyond the first stage noticed, and after the anointing it gradually and completely left. There is now no mark to be seen.
Recently a man whose home is in Texas told me of an experience of healing in his family. His six-year-old daughter had a fever. It came up to the critical stage. The temperature was marked. The physician plainly revealed his anxiety, and feared that her strength would not be sufficient. It was doubted that she might survive the night. It was a time of sorest distress.
They were all worn out with the watching and nursing, day and night, and the concern of spirit. The child's weakness was such that the usual evening family prayers were held in the hallway with the child's room-door open.
At the child's own request a special prayer was made that Christ would heal her by His own direct touch. And the family were greatly touched and impressed with her simple, strong faith.
She said to her father in effect, "I'm going to be well now. Christ will heal me." She fell asleep with the words on her lips, and a smile on her wasted face. When the father and mother retired from the sick room one said to the other, "But suppose she isn't better in the morning; it'll be such a disappointment to her. What'll we do then?"
And the other replied "But that isn't faith. Faith believes it will be as we asked." In the morning the child awoke with her temperature quite normal, and speedily recovered her strength.
Let us live in simple, full touch of life with our living Christ. And when any need may come go to Him. It is His eager will to advise with us, and above all to heal us, to His glory.
For those we touch will know what a Christ Christ is. It will let them see His glory, that is, see the sort of a Saviour He is.