Among the many testimonies to the Lord's work which brothers and sisters give in the church, most of them were about healing miracles God performed on them. As a church magazine editor, I received many letters about this type of testimony.
According to the statistics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, nearly two-thirds of the Chinese people believe in Christianity because they have been cured of their illness. It can be fairly said that miraculous healing is the most common testimony of the church. But, what caused it?
The Bible clearly records many healing miracles
Healing people of their illnesses is one of the main works of the Lord. In the Old Testament, one of the Lord's seven names is "the Lord who heals" (Exodus 15:26). The Lord not only heals the soul of man; but, also heals the sickness of their flesh. When Jesus was on the earth, he often healed the weak, giving sight to the blind, enabling the lame to walk, cleansing the lepers, making the dumb speak, and so on. Although Jesus did not teach that faith in Him was only based on miraculous healing, many believers familiar with these stories naturally would pray for healing when they are in pain of sickness.
It was a result of the influence of folk beliefs.
The Chinese people's beliefs mostly come from folk beliefs, which pay close attention to effects or results. After the opening up policy in 1970, Protestantism mainly grew in the rural areas because it is where folk beliefs were strong. Therefore, although many people became Christians, they were still heavily influenced by their original beliefs, stressing the importance of miracles and effect.
Besides this fact, the Chinese have a strong utilitarian mindset. Many people chose to believe in the Lord after they sought help from other gods to heal them were in vain, and many of them were healed of their sickness after becoming a believer in Christ. As a result, based on their motives and the actual effect, they would naturally talk about the miracle of healing they experienced from the Lord to testify His greatness.
It is related to the groups who became Christians
According to the statistics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Chinese Christians are mostly women, illiterate and the elderly. From a physiological point of view, as people age, their body's function keeps declining and attacked by a variety of diseases. Many sick old believers, who are constantly struggling with their disease, find strength and hope in the Christian faith. Thus, when they lift up after experiencing healing miracles, their reaction is natural. Because these groups account for a larger proportion of church believers, their healing testimonies must have become popular in the church.
Social medical services can not meet people's needs.
One of the main problems in China is for ordinary people to see doctors and receive proper medical treatment because it is very expensive, especially for the rural people. Also, our medical science has not reached the level where it can heal all diseases. When the patient feels hopeless in the face of their sickness, they could only rely on faith for a cure. From a medical point of view, a patients' good mood does help them in recovering their health. Meanwhile, we do not rule out the possibility that the Lord may have performed miracles on some people. Healed by prayer, some people would naturally spread the miracles they experienced.
Benefits and harms of healing miracles
On the one hand, the testimony of healing miracles has a certain value as a means of leading people to believe in the Lord. Also, some testimonies about sickness being healed give other patients hope and comfort so that they can fight their own disease. Therefore, it is acceptable to properly publicize these miracles to care for sick believers.
On the other hand, it brings more harm than good mainly in two aspects. First of all, hearing too many healing witnesses may cause believers to seek only the good part and avoid the difficult part in faith, thinking that they can receive anything they want in faith if they ask. Second, it causes believers to develop extremist ideas, endangering their health. For example, some people may say that seeking medicine for a cure is to rely on a human's ability, which is not spiritual. Affected by this kind of wrong ideas, many brothers and sisters did give up on seeking treatment from doctors, trying to rely only on prayer. As a result, many people's common sickness became serious, and others with serious diseases lost their lives.
The Lord gave people wisdom to develop medicine to help them overcome diseases. Many missionaries from the West, who are excellent doctors, have facilitated the development of Western medicine in China. Therefore, it is wrong for sick people not to seek treatment and rely on the only prayer. It is equal to testing the Lord against their faith, and its underlying reason is widespread of healing testimonies.
Written by a Christian in his 80's from Gulangyu, Xiamen in Fujian, who became a believer at the end of 2007 and served as the church's magazine editor since he began to work for its writing ministry in 2010.
Translated by Alvin Zhou