Science and personal spiritual beliefs often seem to be at odds with each other, but they don’t have to be. The truth is, human beings are more than just a body. Mental, emotional and even spiritual conditions can actually have a strong impact on our physical health. When people fail to acknowledge or address all of the areas that can affect physical health, they will often fail to address the underlying cause of many physical issues. This can result in ongoing illnesses that can even grow progressively worse over time because the underlying issues are not being addressed. In addition, people themselves can have spiritual beliefs that actually influence the kinds of care or treatments they wish to receive. This is where a faith-based health ministry can help. Here are 5 ways a faith-based health ministry can benefit you.
1. Addresses more than just your physical needs
Spiritual, mental and emotional conditions such as grief, stress and anxiety can all take a tremendous toll on our physical health. Prolonged grief can lead to depression, which in turn can have a significant impact on your sleep, which can eventually lead to a number of chronic health conditions. Treating the resultant health conditions individually will not step the deterioration because it is not dealing with the underlying cause.
While grieving is a natural, normal element in life, we can’t move through grief without hope. Hope is something that traditional modern medicine doesn’t know how to address because it isn’t a statistically measurable element like your heart rate or cholesterol level. A faith-based health ministry, however, can help you deal with the deepest causes of health issues that stem from spiritual conditions such as grief or anxiety. This is because a faith-based ministry looks at more than just charts and statistics to find answers.
2. Provides more room for a balance of science and faith
Faith and science are not enemies, but they are often oppositional. Just like justice and mercy, however, they are meant to work together hand in hand by balancing each other. Science without faith becomes hard and resolute, but faith without science becomes fictional. Science provides a framework on which to hang our faith but navigating through the hard realities of life require both.
Science tells us that no two snowflakes are ever alike, but that doesn’t make it any less miraculous. Science can tell us what should and should not be possible and yet the impossible happens every day. Just because the impossible can happen, however, doesn’t mean it always will. Science provides the baseline on which to set our expectations, while faith always hopes to exceed them. A faith-based health ministry helps to balance this ever-present dichotomy.
3. Respects your individual beliefs
When faith is divorced entirely from medicine, the will of the patient is often disregarded. When the primary goal of medicine is to simply save lives no matter the cost, patients or the families of patients can sometimes be railroaded into procedures or treatments that may not actually be in keeping with the patient’s own wishes or values.
People of faith often believe that “life” as we know it is transitory or temporary. They may wish to let a loved one pass into something better rather than prolong their life – and their suffering – in this world.
Many people of faith also have strong beliefs regarding the beginning of life as well. Many times, expectant mothers may experience complications that can put their own life at risk. A faith-based health ministry can help families navigate not just the medical complications and ramifications but also the potential spiritual ones as well.
While there are rarely any hard-and-fast, clear-cut or concrete answers, both of these issues need to be addressed, acknowledged and struggled with to come to any form of peace in the decision-making process.
4. More compassionate care
Most people who are drawn to medicine or caring fields often have a strong element of compassion. The reality is, however, that the continuous proximity to people who are suffering, and grieving can become overwhelming. For every patient that walks away healthy and whole, one or more may not. Sometimes for reasons that are completely inexplicable. The truth is that as much as modern science knows about the workings of the human body, there is so much more that we don’t.
As much as science can tell us all the right things to do in a given situation, sometimes they work and sometimes they simply do not. For people without any sort of faith in something bigger than themselves, this inability to save a life they feel should have been saved can become intolerable.
This can make care providers hard, angry, and insensitive. This, in turn can cause them to become dispassionate in their work as a way of avoiding the pain that it causes. In addition, patients or the families of patients can also become angry with care providers that cannot or could not save a life, a limb, hearing or eyesight or a newborn child. This is a heavy weight for doctors and other healthcare providers to bear.
Working in a faith-based environment isn’t just better for the patients, it is also better for the providers of care as well. A faith-based ministry helps care providers wrestle with the reality that we are not in control. We can do all the right things and still lose a patient – because it may simply be their time to go. Working in a faith-based environment helps care providers to stay connected to their work by accepting that there are always going to be things that are beyond their control.
Even when families may become angry or try to place blame at the feet of care providers, working in a faith-based ministry helps them to only accept fault that is genuinely theirs. If they make a mistake, they can accept that. If they did everything they were trained to do, and it did not have the expected results, they can move on from that and continue to provide compassionate care to others.
5. Care takes precedence over profit
Providing high-quality care is not free. Medical workers are worthy of their wages, as are the manufacturers of the many supplies and machinery that are required to run an effective care facility. In many cases, however, the desire to make a profit can grow out-of-control.
There is a difference between needing to charge what is reasonable to cover the cost of services – which includes adequate wages for the workers in addition to all of the many expenditures required to run a care facility – and charging what is necessary to make a profit. Because how much “profit” is enough profit?
While a faith-based health ministry still has all the same bills to pay as any other care facility, the focus is on managing resources to provide the best care at the lowest cost, rather than determining how much can be charged for care in order to make a profit.