Counseling the very ill

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Biblical counseling is committed to the Bible as its infallible guide to understanding the very real challenges that people face and how to address them. In my experience as a biblical counselor, I’ve found that a biblical understanding of sickness is something I regularly need to assist with. Clearly the world’s two most common perspectives are incomplete. A modern medical view might address us as nothing more than a physical, biochemical machine in need of repair. A modern spiritual view might emphasize the power of positive thinking and our ability to make ourselves well through positive energy. The Bible is clear that as human beings we have both a physical body, and a soul/spirit; and that these two parts of ourselves are deeply intertwined and influence each other. A biblical view of sickness needs to address both body and spirit; but it also needs to take God’s will and glory into account. Yes, sometimes it is God’s will to heal and make well for our good and His glory; and God welcomes us to pray for physical and spiritual restoration. Sometimes, it is God’s will to bring Him glory in the midst of our illness, and to die and be with Him in a way that brings Him glory. Over the years I have been greatly impacted by brothers and sisters I know such as Rachel Barkey who have demonstrated for me what this looks like. Let us not read too quickly past what God’s Word teaches us in several places. The folly of seeking only the physician’s help and not also seeking the Lord’s (2 Chronicles 16:12). The fact that sometimes God uses sickness to humble us and to keep us from sin (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). These examples, and many others are part of the rich and multi-faceted biblical view of illness that are part of counseling biblically.

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