14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
We are told here that we are to call on the elders of the church and have them pray over us if we are sick. Our elders are the spiritually mature people in our church body that we are to call on if we get sick. The oil in this verse symbolizes the Holy Spirit.
Though we are instructed in scripture, many of us do not follow through with this step when we are sick. There could be a variety of reasons for this hesitation. I know when I was diagnosed last year, my thoughts did not go directly to this command. In fact, a friend had to remind me of this scripture before I even remembered this was the direction from God - to call our elders and have them pray over us when we are sick. I think what happens when we receive a diagnosis that knocks the wind out of us, our initial reaction is to take care of it ourselves. We want to do the research and see the doctors to set up a plan of action. Then we want to call our loved ones and share the difficult news, looking for comfort in the challenge. But we fail to turn to the One with immediate power to change our circumstances.
Why? Digging deep down below that question can reveal a number of sin issues - pride, control, lack of trust. Perhaps you believe God, but you trust in the power of science and medicine just a little bit more. You know it says God will heal the sick, but deep within your heart, you don’t trust that He alone has the power to heal. Perhaps you’ve heard of God’s comfort, but you prefer the tangible hugs from a loved one when you’re frightened.
I am so thankful that I live my life with fellow believers around me who were able to remind me of this scripture so early in my diagnosis. I was before the elders just 10 short days after my diagnosis, still with very little information about my prognosis. It was before my surgeries, before my chemo, and before my radiation. I had only one meeting about the cancer, but knew enough to know I had an aggressive, recurrent form. If it wasn’t for the prompting of my friend, I would have lived quite some time with the fears born of prideful control that would have robbed me of the peace I found having been prayed for by the elders.
God promises to bless us abundantly when we are obedient. Note that this verse isn’t a suggestion - it doesn’t say, “hey maybe you should call the elders.” No, it says call them if you’re sick. He blessed me in more ways I can say on that day, and in the year of days that have followed. There was such a sweet presence of the Lord in that prayer room as so many people I love prayed over me with the elders. His Spirit was tangible in ways I have rarely felt, and His Spirit has stayed close to me through this entire year. I have known a peace that surpasses all understanding as I’ve walked this road - a peace that I would not have found had I not followed the instructions in scripture.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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