Sickness and Suffering

Sickness and what to do about it is one of the main rhythms that moves animist people each day. At any given time in most families, there is usually at least one sick person. In Pnong worldview, this means that a spirit is not happy. Sometimes a healer will be called to perform rituals and sacrifices to appease the angry spirit. Other times, the family will go to the hospital to try Western medicine. Sometimes they come to us, hoping that by becoming a Christian they will be healed. Some examples of sicknesses that people have hoped to be cured of are rheumatoid arthritis, a broken hip, alcoholic neuropathy and hepatitis C. While there are some lifestyle changes we can offer to help them, these sicknesses are not curable, even by Western standards.

So, from their animistic worldview, they are coming to try the Christian “spirit” to see if this one is powerful enough to heal them. We are struggling to help our new believers understand that loss of health is a result of living in a sinful world, and often, for reasons we don’t know, God doesn’t choose to miraculously heal them. At what point do you stop groping for healing and accept what you have? If God chooses not to heal, does that mean that He really isn’t powerful? Why did Jesus heal so many people in the Bible but doesn’t seem to today? These are the questions many of our new believers have that we are trying to answer and support them through. Please pray for our new believers’ faith and for wisdom for us as we mentor them.

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