Fox News is reporting that a child in Weston, Wisconsin died because her parents refused to take her to a physician. They believed the power of prayer would heal the child. The following is an excerpt from the news report:
An 11-year-old girl died after her parents prayed for healing rather than seek medical help for a treatable form of diabetes, police said Tuesday.
Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said Madeline Neumann died Sunday.
“She got sicker and sicker until she was dead,” he said.
Vergin said an autopsy determined the girl died from diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment that left her with too little insulin in her body, and she had probably been ill for about 30 days, suffering symptoms like nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness.
The girl’s parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, attributed the death to “apparently they didn’t have enough faith,” the police chief said.
They believed the key to healing “was it was better to keep praying. Call more people to help pray,” he said.
The mother believes the girl could still be resurrected, the police chief said.
Some people would commend the parents for their faith because they believed in the power of prayer. Although their intention was good, the decision to hold treatment was wrong and in the end it cost the life of their daughter.
Christians have to understand that God answers prayer to heal the sick but he also uses physicians and medicine to do his work.
The book of Ecclesiasticus, also known as Sirach, has a good statement on God, physicians, and medicine. It reads:
Honor physicians for their services, for the Lord created them; for their gift of healing comes from the Most High, and they are rewarded by the king. The skill of physicians makes them distinguished, and in the presence of the great they are admired. The Lord created medicines out of the earth, and the sensible will not despise them. Was not water made sweet with a tree in order that its power might be known? And he gave skill to human beings that he might be glorified in his marvelous works. By them the physician heals and takes away pain; the pharmacist makes a mixture from them. God’s works will never be finished; and from him health spreads over all the earth. My child, when you are ill, do not delay, but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you. Give up your faults and direct your hands rightly, and cleanse your heart from all sin. Offer a sweet-smelling sacrifice, and a memorial portion of choice flour, and pour oil on your offering, as much as you can afford. Then give the physician his place, for the Lord created him; do not let him leave you, for you need him. There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians, for they too pray to the Lord that he grant them success in diagnosis and in healing, for the sake of preserving life. He who sins against his Maker, will be defiant toward the physician (Sirach 38:1-15).
So, when Christians get sick, they must pray for healing, but they also should go to the doctor and take whatever medicine is prescribed by the physician.
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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