Dr. Ernest Crocker on Faith and Healing: 'Modern Medicine is a Gift From God'
Dr. Ernest Crocker is a physician who wanted to write about the miracles he has seen while in the medical field. His new book, "9 Minutes Past Midnight," is out and tells the stories of several miracles Crocker has witnessed. He spoke with The Christian Post about the book, his work in the field, and his faith.
The Christian Post: What made you want to share your experiences with the public?
Dr. Crocker: As a young doctor-in-training and as an internist I was both a Christian and a rationalist. Yet I needed to understand if God healed miraculously today. I could explain away healing of headaches, asthma, joint pain as placebo effect and was not convinced when infertile women became pregnant after prayer. But I needed to understand once and for all whether God healed in the 20th century and put the matter to rest.
One Sunday evening I challenged God asking Him to show me within seven days whether He heals miraculously today. The next day I worked as usual at my teaching hospital but received a call that afternoon from a doctor with whom I operated an emergency after-hours on-call service.
Just after midnight I received a call from a lady with chest pain. I hurried over to find that she'd had a heart attack. As I arranged for her hospital admission she arrested. Despite CPR, adrenaline, even an intracardiac injection she died. As I knelt by her side compressing her heart an inner voice said "Now's the time, now's the time."
I prayed for the woman and she shook but then no response. The pupils of her eyes became fixed and dilated. Finally the ambulance arrived. I continued CPR despite the paramedic telling me she was dead. At the hospital ER parking bay the residents pronounced her Dead On Arrival, yet I managed to convince them to take her into the ER. They did so and began to work on her. Within a short period she developed normal cardiac rhythm, regained consciousness and said, "My chest hurts." Of course it did-- I had broken her ribs. She was discharged after two days with a normal EKG, no brain damage and no diagnosis.
That incident changed my life. I began to understand that faith and rationalism can work hand in hand. Render to scientific medicine the discipline of science and to God and His Word the discipline of faith.
I have never since that time challenged God. But eventually He challenged me to tell the story.
CP: What role do you believe faith plays in healing?
Croker: The Bible makes it clear. Jesus said "your faith has made you whole" and Paul said "the prayer of faith will save the sick." When patients and friends have faith for healing God is able to intervene. The healing that occurs may be of physical nature but it will always be spiritual and bring hope, peace and cast out fear. It has been said that when God is in the room there is no room for fear. When the doctor has faith he is able to commit his expertise to the Lord in the context of that patient. I believe that he is also able to draw upon God's wisdom and insight.
One surgeon told me that when he was faced with an impossible appendix he was able to "send up a prayer" and other doctors have told me that they have seen God's hand move in otherwise hopeless situations when they have prayed the prayer of faith.
CP: Why do you think God heals certain people and others never recover from their injuries or disease?
Crocker: We don't have God's insight or oversight and we don't always understand His plan and purpose. One day we will see clearly and not "through a glass darkly." In the meantime, it is important to understand that there are many ways in which God can heal. He may heal by modern medicine, which is a gift of God and is best defined as our progressive understanding of the function and dysfunction of the human body and our growing ability to intervene to prevent and cure illness and prolong life. He may heal by supernatural means and often by a combination of the two.
I believe that death also can be part of healing. He knew us before we were born. He accompanies us through life and eventually takes us home. And sometimes he asks us to wait a while as He achieves His purpose. A Christian doctor friend once told me that it took his illness to bring him out of his comfort zone. Prayer like God's word never returns void and it is sometimes only in retrospect that we are able to see His hand move in a situation.
CP: What would you like people to get from reading your book?
Crocker: As I wrote this book I spoke to some 50 Christian doctors to see if they had had similar experiences. Many had experienced the miraculous but each in his or her own way recognized God's intervention in their life and practice. Each had discovered God as their "silent" and sometimes not so silent partner. He was there in the home, in the operating room, in the sick bay and the boardroom. God changes lives from the mundane to the extraordinary when we trust Him and find our identity in Him and not our own pursuits. He can change your life too.
CP: What is the unique responsibility for a physician who is a Christian? Are patients quick to lose hope after a diagnosis? How can the physician offer hope to his patients?
Crocker: To understand that modern medicine is a gift of God. That it should be practiced in the context of faith and spiritual discernment and at a high level of professionalism. A Christian doctor is in the unique position of being able to pray for his patients in his quiet moments and sometimes with them and their family when the opportunity presents itself.
As a Christian doctor I ask God each morning what new opportunity He has for me that day and ask Him to bring me patients that I can honor, help and to whom I can bring hope. I ask for His wisdom and His insight. When a diagnosis is tough or the situation seems hopeless I simply ask Him for help. And He never fails.
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