“Ahem, ahem…” clearing his throat, Juan noticed that there was something wrong with his voice. He thought it was just a simple sore throat. He started using lozenges, but a week later he noticed that he was having chest pain and that his cough was getting worse. He then started home remedies like drinking more fluids, drinking calamansi (lemon) with honey, eating more fruits and vegetables and resting well. After a couple of days, his weight had dropped significantly and he had started to sweat at night and have chills. He went to the clinic in his office and the nurse had said that he might have the flu and gave him an antibiotic to take for a week. He felt relieved that it was something so minor.
However, one day, he was worried to discover that he was coughing up blood. Looking in the mirror, he noticed that he was paler and his weight had dropped. One of his friends told him it might be tuberculosis, but he did not believe it because he had gotten vaccinated already, so he continued trying to treat it with antibiotics and home remedies.
One day he woke up and was shocked. He was not in his room. Only half awake all he could see were people in white walking around… busy. “Where am I?” he asked. A lady in white answered, “Sir, you are at the hospital.” “Why?” he asked her again. “You are under observation and we need to do some tests.” He was so scared and thought he might be dying or have cancer. He waited almost 24 hours for the real diagnosis. He later exclaimed that this was the longest time of his life. Finally the doctor came and said, “Sir, you have TB”…
The story above is a classic example of our reaction to sicknesses. Filipinos in general always resort in self-medication. Most do not have the means to go to a doctor, buy medicine or even be confined to a hospital. TB is still one of the deadliest treatable diseases in the Philippines.
If this is curable, then why are there still so many who die from this disease? In 2014, Dr. Anthony Leachon, the President of the Philippine College of Physicians, explained that “When patients come to us to seek medical advice, they are very sick already. This should not be the case. This is failure of health literacy”. He further added that prevention is cheaper than treatment.
How often do we delay coming to a physician in order to be healed? How often do we neglect the symptoms we feel that prompts us to get medical aid? How often do we disregard the reminder to prevent getting sick and be free of the agony of long, expensive treatment?
Does not this story, too often, parallel our physical, emotional, and even spiritual lives? Think what are the “sicknesses” and “diseases” you are facing nowadays.
How Can We Be Healed?
We all need to be healed whether it be physical, spiritual, emotional or any other type of healing. There is not much difference between our physical and spiritual well-being. We will be healed if (1) We understand what it means to be healed; (2) We recognize the need to be healed; and (3) We know who our real physician is.
1. What does it mean to be healed?
According to the World Health Organization, health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. This profound description of health helps us evaluate whether we need to be healed or not. No one is perfect and so we always need constant aid in order to fully function at our best.
Like the man in the story, we sometimes notice symptoms of sickness and yet we choose not to visit a doctor or have a check-up. Sometimes we notice that there is something wrong or that we are starting to have problems and concerns, yet we fail to ask for help. We usually resort to our own “self-medication”.
2. Recognizing the need to be healed.
Before we even get really sick, there are physical symptoms that we can watch for, but there are other conditions that do not have obvious symptoms. When we feel that we are not at our best or we feel like we are not functioning normally, we may start thinking that something might be wrong.
Like Juan, we sometimes tend to ignore signs that prompt us that not everything is well. We feel like it is okay and everything will be alright after sometime. Our bodies have its own way of determining whether we are healthy or not. We just need to listen and pay attention to it.
3. Knowing who the real physician is.
Jesus Christ invites all of us to come to him and be healed:
Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy. (3 Nephi 17:7)
When Jesus Christ was on the earth, He sacrificed not only for our sins but also for our pains, problems, and any negative feelings that we have. He understands us perfectly because He went through everything that we went through, everything that we are going through and everything that we will go through.
The Greatest Physician
Carole M. Stephens, a leader of the women’s organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints emphasized the power and ability of Jesus Christ to heal us. She enumerated:
First, the Savior, the Master Healer, has the power to change our hearts and give us permanent relief from the sorrow caused by our own sin.
Second, the Master Healer can comfort and strengthen us when we experience pain because of the unrighteous actions of others.
Third, the Master Healer can comfort and sustain us as we experience painful “realities of mortality,”such as disaster, mental illness, disease, chronic pain, and death.
Our lives have ups and downs, imperfections and unfairness but we can be healed through the greatest physician—Jesus Christ. He has the ability to heal us spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. He knows us perfectly and wants to help us. God has given us many ways to know and feel when and how to be healed. He has given us all the resources we need in this life so we can succeed. We should not wait for us to be severely sick to come to the Master Healer, the eternal physician who can mend our bodies and our souls perfectly.