Can science and faith peacefully coexist? One leading ethicist recently answered with a resounding “yes.”
In his article Incorporating Religion and Spirituality Into Healthcare, the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Ethics, Humanities and Spiritual Care’s Dr. Eric Kodish observed that religion and healthcare are often inextricably linked. Many in the medical community are beginning to recognize the positive role that faith can play in the midst of a health crisis.
A healthcare emergency is one of the scariest, most stressful, most personal and trying times of a person’s life. It is no wonder that so many people turn to their faith to sustain them in times when they feel helpless, out of control and worried about what the future holds. Even for the most faith-filled, a health scare can provide a new perspective on life and increase one’s capacity for trusting someone greater than oneself.
Science may not fully understand the power of faith, but in hospitals and sickbeds everywhere, the sick and those who love them find peace, hope and healing by drawing near to God in prayer.
There is one group of Christians for whom faith and healthcare are clearly connected. Whether in sickness or in health, they view their choice in healthcare as an everyday, practical exhibition of their personal faith.
Rather than choosing health insurance, this growing group of Christians from across the country has opted to share their medical bills with other Christians as members of a healthcare sharing ministry. Every month, members of healthcare sharing ministries pray for one another and share resources to pay the medical bills of fellow members and, in turn, the same is done for them in their time of need. I can speak for one such organization, Medi-Share, and point out that, in its 21-year-history, members have voluntarily contributed their money to pay every eligible medical bill they have been asked to share.
While participation in a healthcare sharing ministry like Medi-Share provides Christians with a legal and acceptable way to comply with the nation’s healthcare laws, most members choose to participate because they are eager to uphold the biblical concept of sharing each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).
Belonging to a healthcare sharing ministry requires faith; faith in God, and faith in fellow believers. Medi-Share is a community with a shared purpose and commitment to prayer, financial support and words of encouragement.
It’s important to understand that in addition to shared beliefs and commitment to serve each other, the tenets of the Christian faith are interwoven into the very fabric of this healthcare sharing ministry. Members of healthcare sharing ministries appreciate that their resources do not pay for needs and medical bills that do not align with their faith.
A healthcare crisis will always be a test of faith. We place faith in the wisdom of doctors and the hands of surgeons. This growing number of Christians across America are placing less faith in insurance companies and more faith in the prayers and support of like-minded Christians who, like them, have committed to biblical principles found in healthcare sharing ministries.