The need for medicine and doctors go way back. But since Christianity, Christians have contributed the most to society in areas of Medicine. The church is the largest single provider of healthcare in the world, some in the poorest countries where there is no other care. There is no close second provider.
We will see inspiring stories of doctors who worked alongside God to bring care to those in need.
MEDICAL-Christianity and Your Well-Being
The Gospel is not to be preached to people with the promise that it will bring health, wealth and happiness. The cross of Christ is something we carry.
We are called to give our lives sacrificially in obedience to Jesus, blessing others and overcoming evil with good. That can be painful.
However, it does seem that as a side-effect that we are blessed with the fruits of the Holy Spirit which include joy, love and peace.
Recent research has backed up the fact that faith can add to your well-being:
• Study by the London School of Economics and Political Science, in 2015 a study of 9000 adults found that attending a religious service was better for your mental health than sports, charity work, political activity and even furthering your education. Full report here:
• Godliness is the key to healthiness? Does religion boost mental health?
• In 2006, the American Society of Hypertension established that church-goers have lower blood pressure than the non-faithful.
• Likewise, in 2004, scholars at the University of California, Los Angeles, suggested that college students involved in religious activities are more likely to have better mental and emotional health than those who do not.
• Meanwhile, in 2006, population researchers at the University of Texas discovered that the more often you go to church, the longer you live.
• The American Journal of Public Health, which studied nearly 2,000 older Californians for five years. Those who attended religious services were 36 per cent less likely to die during this half-decade than those who didn’t.
• In 1990, the American Journal of Psychiatry discovered believers with broken hips were less depressed, had shorter hospital stays and could even walk further when they were discharged compared to their similarly broken-hipped and hospitalised, but comparatively heathen peers.
• In 1998, the American Journal of Public Health found that depressed patients with a strong ‘intrinsic faith’ (a deep personal belief, not just a social inclination to go to a place of worship) recovered 70 per cent faster than those who did not have strong faith.
• In 2008, Professor Andrew Clark of the Paris School of Economics and Doctor Orsolya Lelkes of the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research conducted a vast survey of Europeans. They found that religious believers, compared to non-believers, record less stress, are better able to cope with losing jobs and divorce, are less prone to suicide, report higher levels of self-esteem, enjoy greater ‘life purpose’ and report being more happy overall.
• 'People who attend church regularly seem to be happier than people who are not religious,' Prof Headey said.
Leprosy Mission International
Leprosy Mission International has over 130 years experience working with people that are considered “untouchable” in some societies. Founded by Wellesley Bailey in the 1860s.
Wellesley C Bailey was born in Ireland in 1846. and was the founder of international charity The Leprosy Mission. In India in the 1860s he witnessed the severe consequences of the disease and vowed to make caring for those with leprosy his life work. The Mission he established all those years ago is still active today.
Wellesley Bailey's Christian faith
That was until he found himself at the start of a voyage that was to take him a long way from home. In Gravesend, fog delayed the departure of his ship bound for Australia. Remembering his childhood girlfriend's request to him before he left to attend church whenever he could, he stopped by one Sunday at Gravesend Parish church. There, he says he had a sense of God's presence in a way he'd never known before and he committed his life to Christ.
In 1917, at the age of 71, Wellesley Bailey made the decision to retire from his work with the Mission. He had spent the best part of 50 years dedicated to serving those with leprosy. By the time of his retirement, The Mission to Lepers was working with over 14,000 leprosy-affected people in 12 countries.
His granddaughter later wrote about him: 'He was not a saint, nor even a clever man... But I do not ever remember hearing from him an ungenerous remark, or seeing him angry apart from minor irritations. His great gift was single-mindedness, and a simplicity that perhaps could not see the difficulties which a more sophisticated mind might see.'
Wellesley Bailey died in 1937, aged 91.
Macmillian Cancer Support
Douglas Macmillan MBE (10 August 1884 – 9 January 1969) was a British civil servant, and founder of the Macmillan Cancer Support charity. Macmillan Cancer Support is one of the largest British charities and provides specialist health care, information and financial support to people affected by cancer.
Douglas Macmillian was a pioneer in founding a free or low cost health care for the terminally ill.
As well as helping with the medical needs of people affected by cancer, Macmillan also looks at the social, emotional and practical impact cancer can have, and campaigns for better cancer care. Macmillan Cancer Support's goal is to reach and improve the lives of everyone living with cancer in the UK.