Physician's work shows Jesus is a role model

  • Follow Your Faith

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

-- Matthew 14:14

Dr. Thomas A. Huff embodies the compassionate healing ministry of the Great Physician. For 25 years, he has treated me for Type-1 diabetes. Through his compassion, expertise and advice, I enjoy a quality of life relatively free from complications after 39 years of battling this chronic, incurable -- but manageable -- disease.

Huff joined the Medical College of Georgia in January 1971 after completing a fellowship in endocrinology at Duke University Medical School. He was the first endocrinologist on the MCG staff who specialized in the care, treatment, study and teaching of diabetes.

A lifelong Presbyterian, Huff did his undergraduate work at Rhodes (Presbyterian) College in Memphis and took Bible courses that helped lay the foundation for his theology and philosophy. Out of his deep faith and study came his Christ-like concern for patients and students.

French philosopher Paul Ricoeur also influenced Huff. From Ricoeur's ideas in Freedom and Nature , Huff realized the need to practice patience because of the fallibility in both the physician and the patient.

Huff explains: "Sometimes my patients cannot accept their disease. That is a part of our fallibility. But to live well, they have to consent to the diabetes with their will and emotions."

Huff's empathy for his diabetic patients led him and others to lobby Congress and make several trips to Washington, D.C., in the late 1970s. They led Congress to appropriate $165 million for the most comprehensive diabetes study ever conducted, involving 1,441 participants throughout the U.S. and Canada, of which I am one. The Diabetes Complications and Control Trial resulted in the most important breakthrough regarding the delivery of care to diabetics since the discovery of insulin. Learn more at diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/control.

Huff is now retired and a professor emeritus at MCG but continues to see 50-60 patients annually on a volunteer basis, donating his fees and services to MCG.

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, and though Huff can't make the blind see again, as Jesus did, helping make the diabetes trial a reality gave the doctor and diabetics the knowledge and means to prevent blindness and avoid other complications for decades -- even all of their lives.

This humble physician from a small Mississippi town bestows the mercy of Christ on those suffering from an incurable disease. Thank you, Dr. Tom Huff.

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Dan White 06/12/10 - 10:05 pm
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Check out my two additional

Check out my two additional articles on Dr. Huff at my new blog, The Whiteboard. http://chronicle.augusta.com/blogs/whiteboard

mgrah92
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mgrah92 06/12/10 - 07:42 pm
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Have you ever asked God to

Have you ever asked God to heal you of diabetes? You say it is an incurable disease; is that what you believe? I had a miraculous healing from cancer. I am now fully convinced that God still does do miracles, they did not go away as some churches teach, and that God can heal you if he healed me. I am concerned that you call diabetes an incurable disease.

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Dan White 06/12/10 - 10:02 pm
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God can cure anyone of any

God can cure anyone of any disease including me. I have witnessed my church members walk away from the hospital after the doctors said there was no hope. But for me, I've prayed along with others for me, and like Paul, I have to rest in that God's grace is sufficient for me until and if He chooses to heal me of this disease.

mgrah92
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mgrah92 06/13/10 - 06:00 pm
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I will not ever describe any

I will not ever describe any disease as incurable. "Incurable" is only used in the Old Testament. Jesus never refused to heal someone who asked for healing. I would certainly change doctors if they said there was no hope. Your article does not mention whether Dr. Huff believes in healing; nor whether he prays for his patients. Does he believe that prayer can cause miracles to occur?

I would prefer to see articles in the Religous section about people with testimony that God has healed them; I am more interested in someone's faith than their religion or research. Testimony of God healing someone seems like a better way to build faith than testimony of diabetes being incurable. I personally know of a young man who was miraculously healed of diabetes; no longer requires insulin - now has normal blood sugar levels. This healing occured after prayer at Russellville Christian Center.

I do not find any evidence that Paul's need for grace, or his thorn in the flesh was a disease (I think it could have been pride).

I have observed that churches who do not teach their folks about God's promises regarding healing do not have anyone giving testimony of healing. I am curious, do you teach the folks in your church to lay hands on the sick and pray for their healing?

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Dan White 06/13/10 - 09:57 pm
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mgrah92 Thanks for your post.

mgrah92 Thanks for your post. Yes, we annoint with oil and pray for healing in my church and also invite those who have loved ones who are sick to come and be annointed with oil as an act of intercession for them. And yes, Dr. Huff is a praying man, a man of faith. I cannot say for certain that he prays for the sick that he ministers too. He and I have never prayed for healing in my visits with him, but I am sure that if requested, he would lead in the prayer. Whether Paul's thorn was a sickness or somethings else, grace is sufficient, always sufficient. I think my article plainly said that Dr. Huff is a man of faith and that faith forms the foundation of his practice in his Christ-like compassion and care of his patients including me. I should have clarified that incurable means that my disease is incurable as far as medical science is concerned. Medical science; i.e., the human effort has not been able to find a cure for diabetes, but as I mentioned in my previous post, God can and has through Christ healed people then and now. In my understanding of God, He is sovereign and chooses to do as He will. I have prayed for my cure of diabetes and prayed for all who I have ministered with to be cured and sometimes, God chooses not to cure. He is sovereign. I had a dear friend who was deathly sick and went home to be with the Lord this past Sunday (the 6th) with prayers of my church and his church and many other churches praying for his recovery. And let's not forget that even Lazarus who was raised from the dead eventually died from something - some disease perhaps. I am always mindful of Hebrews 9:27, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die." You too will one day die of some disease or medical problem that God chooses not to heal you of and instead take you up to glory to abide with Him forever. I also know and believe that God hast created all things, and for His pleasure they are and were created (Revelation 4:11. I am created for God's good pleasure, and if He chooses in His providence and sovereignty not to heal me, who am I to argue? Sometimes God's pleasure allows us to suffer. When Jesus told Peter in John 21 that "When thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me." Jesus prophesied that Peter would die on a cross like Jesus and that this horrendous death would glorify Christ. "Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved [John] following; which also leaned on his breast at supper...Peter seeing him (John) saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him (Peter) , If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me." John lived to a ripe old age exiled to the isle of Patmos. Peter died in torment on a cross. This to me tells me of the sovereignty of our Lord. For Peter, excurciating death. For John, death by old age. So in conclusion, if it pleases the Father for me to have diabetes and glorify Him through diabetes and through the suffering of the disease, then I participate in the sufferings of Christ (Philippians 3:10). I give God glory for my disease and His choice in not curing or healing me. That's the way I understand this mystery. And please, do not cast doubt or aspersions about Dr. Huff's tremendous faith and compassionate ministry to the sick. He is a very humble man who loves the Lord and loves the people he serves and has served through his distinguished career. You can cast aspersions on me and my beliefs, but leave Dr. Huff out of it.

mgrah92
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mgrah92 06/13/10 - 11:00 pm
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Thanks Dan for your detailed

Thanks Dan for your detailed response. I appreciate your testimony of praying for the sick. I do not know the Dr's level of faith; nor the evidence. I pray that you, Dr. Huff, and myself are not too old to keep learning that God wants to bless us with more of His grace, including the ability to heal people strictly in the name of Jesus, the name which is has authority and is above all things that are named.

I seem to differ with you in that I believe that Jesus will not deny our healing if we have the faith to receive it. I say again, He healed everyone who asked. Why would He change just because He is in Heaven? He sent the Holy Spirit and said that greater works would be done than what He performed. The way I understand God's dominion is that God has given us dominion over our lives and all matters on this earth. It is our faith, not God's, that saves us. I do not believe God wants anyone to be sick; including you with diabetes.

I have experienced miraculous healing from cancer; I assure you the life I have lived does not entitle me to any form of healing. However, I do have some health problems that have not went away. I conclude for those that have not went away that to determine the reason that all I have to do is look in the mirror, and I can clearly see the problem. I believe that some miracles happen because the faith of a believer is greater than the disease in the non beleiver. But for a believer, I think that a lack of healing is linked to a lack of faith, not being able to believe that God will do the miracle that is needed.

I choose not to believe that God gives us any sickness, since that would be contrary to God's nature. Further, I believe that Jesus paid the price for all effects of sin, which includes all things named in Deut. 28, starting with Vs. 16. I believe it is possible to exert faith as small as a mustard seed and bring about healing from any disease; the key is the purity of that faith - to believe without doubting. Yes, we do have to die and I will too; howevr, I cant find in my bible where it says I have to get sick first.

I believe under the blood covenant with Jesus that He does not choose to heal some and not to heal others. I believe Jesus did all my suffering for me and all others. Wouldn't he have to die on the cross again if He didn't fully pay the price for the sins of mankind?

I have been a part of large denomination churches that never have any testimony about God performing miracles. It is sad to know those congregations are not being taught that God really does perform miracles. Some even teach that miracle were only applicable during the life of Jesus.

Blessings to you; I pray we see more miracles of healing than ever before as was promised toward the end of this world.

Kelly Jasper
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Kelly Jasper 06/14/10 - 12:16 pm
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mgrah92, interesting

mgrah92, interesting suggestion, re: testimonies.

Let me know of anyone whose story we should feature. The reason why you haven't seen more articles like that is because few people would be willing to open up their medical records so claims can be verified. I'd love more suggestions though, kelly.jasper@augustachronicle.com

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Dan White 06/14/10 - 01:07 pm
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mgrh92 - I understand your

mgrh92 - I understand your line of theology and thinking. That is, it is my lack of faith or any believer's lack of faith is the reason that God does not heal. In Matthew 13:58, Jesus did not do many mighty works (miracles) in his hometown of Nazareth because of their lack of faith. I can also think of at least one time when Jesus healed two men who did not ask for his healing and obviously had no faith. In Matthew 8, Jesus drove out the demons of the two men in the country of the Gaderenes who accused Christ of coming to torment them. Yet, in His mercy and power, He drove out the demons in these two men. In my opinion, this is no less of a miracle of healing than physical healing. Yet, they did not ask for healing. This to me shows the sovereignty of Christ to heal who He chooses even those who do not ask for healing and those without belief or faith. To me, the sovereignty of God is a mystery. Why does He heal some and not others? I certainly don't think it's because one has greater faith than another. Instead, I believe that through suffering and disease, God can be glorified if the believer who is not healed like I have not been healed even though I have faith and ask for His healing. I believe that the Scriptures teach that we live in a fallen world where pain, disease, sickness, and suffering are a part of that fallen world. For believers, we have the sure hope that indeed all will be healed, but I don't think it will occur in this life although God chooses to heal some - even many. For me unless God chooses to heal me of diabetes, I look forward to sitting at the wedding feast of the Lamb and enjoying all the sweets that might be on the menu. I look foward with eager hope when God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:4). I rejoice with you in your faith and that faith made you whole. For me, I rejoice in my sickness believing, yes that God can cure, but until then, I rejoice. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice (Philippians 4:4).

Dr. Huff has never told me there is no hope for healing. It is from my research into diabetes and conclusions from the medical scientific community that says that diabetes is incurable but manageable. Dr. Huff is a man of deep faith, and I would never leave his care. Even though the scientific community says that diabetes is incurable, you and I know that by the power of God and the grace of Christ, that any disease is curable.

I also think that men like Dr. Huff who devote their lives to research are doing the work of Christ in trying to find a cure for diabetes. God works through medical science and gives these men and women the wisdom and insight to find cures.

In regards to your desire to see a testimony of healing in the Faith Section, I have given that much thought and prayer. Kelly Jasper, editor of the Faith Section, has given me the space for the July 3 edition. I plan to write about the founding of our country and the faith foundation of one or more of our founding fathers. Kelly usually gives me space for an article each month. If I get space in August, I was planning on doing a piece on a prominent African-American Christian educator. If I get space in September, I have a friend in Warren County who served on the Board of Education who was miraculously healed of cancer, and I may do an article on her testimony if she consents to an interview for the paper. To my knowledge, there has not been a pastor's article in the Faith Section on divine healing.

I am extremely grateful for the Chronicle's willingness to print articles from local pastor's like me and pray they are a blessing to the community of readers. I would urge you to write Kelly and express your appreciation to her and the Chronicle for running these articles - even when you may not agree with the theology or content. The comment section after each article gives readers a chance to respond with disagreements or agreements. Reader support and appreciation are vital to keep these articles running which represent the diversity of our religious community.
kelly.jasper@augustachronicle.com

By the way, I was part of a large denomination until I started my little church three years ago and have been saddened about some of the same issues that you expressed in the large denominations. I have no axe to grind with them and wish them well. But, I am the happiest that I've ever been in the ministry today.

mgrah92
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mgrah92 06/14/10 - 07:52 pm
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All people with diseases

All people with diseases labeled as incurable need to hear the testimonies of those who have been healed. I confess it was those testimonies that changed my level of faith. Matt 8: 16-17 reveals that Jesus is the answer to anyone needing healing; he healed all the sick. It is up to the believers to spread the message that God is no respecter of persons when it comes to healing.

My own faith has often been increased by hearing the testimony of others and having them explain how the promises of God and his spiritual gifts were made know as a truth in their lives. I believe my healing from cancer and another example of healing originated with hearing someone with the same problem tell how God healed them. The testimony that something is possible based on scripture and that individual’s miracle can give us all the permission to duplicate it. In Acts 8: 27-38 the Ethiopian needed Phillip to help him undertand the scriptures also applied to him, and to receive his salvation, which is the greatest miracle of all.

I also note that I have recently observed miraculous healings take place after testimony of healing has been given. I saw a miraculous healing of a mans hand just this past week, ring finger on right hand was injured, swollen, could not bend finger, and the swelling was removed and movement restored immediately after prayer. That is why we all need to be sitting where teaching about miracles is provided and the testimonies of healing are given.

So many folks believe their doctor more than they believe their Bibles. My observations are that most doctors build a fence between their medical practice and their faith even if they are in a church that teaches on the gift of healing. It is very rare to find a doctor that goes beyond the scientific prognosis. I have difficulty explaining why so many doctors who profess to be Christians do not share their faith through their work. I am encouraged to see Chritian businessmen sharing their faith. I am much more likely to do business with any professional who does not hide his faith in Christ.

The scientific mind can not accept miracles since miracles do not fit the physical world models used to measure cause and effect. Because I am trained in a technical profession I find I must bypass the logic of my mind for my faith to become real. We all have difficulty bypassing the logic of our minds and going directly to our hearts. That is why it is so difficult to believe in a miracle and so easy to doubt their existence.

As a sidebar issue, I note that I don't understand the logic of those who believe that it is God's will for them to be sick. If they are Christians and they believe that, then why do they seek a doctor to cause their bodies to be healed. I have not yet heard this explained.

I look forward to an article on the spiritual gift of healing. I have contacted Kelly and provided some input.

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Dan White 06/15/10 - 10:43 am
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mgrah92 - that's great you

mgrah92 - that's great you contacted Kelly. I did too and am trusting that she will assign me an opportunity to write about the miraculous healing of cancer of my friend. What God wills and what God allows is interesting to me. For example, many years ago, I buried a husband, a friend and a church member, who had two preschool children - one a 7 month old - who was hit by a drunk teen driver in Thomson as they were going to celebrate their anniversary at a restaurant on Washington Road in Thomson. His wife and the two children survived with minor injuries. He died. I don't believe that God willed this, but I preached at the funeral that God can bring good out of this terrible, senseless tragedy. And He did. His wife testified that she leaned on the Lord as never before. She went back to college, got her teaching degree, and taught in a public school in Sandersville, her home town, giving witness to God's grace to her students. She never remarried and today, her children are grown and serving the Lord.

I believe the same thing about sickness. I don't believe God wills anyone to be sick, but we live in a mortal body, and He allows sickness and just as His glory shined forth in Laurie's life through her tragedy, so a believer can become an instrument of God's glory through sickness giving testimony to His grace and love.

Yes, sometimes scientists deny miracles but some of the greatest scientists were believers who gave credit to the Lord for their miraculous discoveries in medicine and science which discoveries, I believe, were gifts from the Lord and part of His healing ministry. One of the great scientists in world history was Johannes Kepler. Consider this beautiful prayer by Kepler: "O Thou Who dost by the light of nature promote in us the desire for the light of grace, that by its means Thou mayest transport us into the light of glory, I give thanks to Thee, O Lord Creator, Who hast delighted me with Thy makings and in the works of Thy hands have I exulted." Hewrote: "Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God."

Many other examples could be sited including medical scientists such as Edward Jenner, who is the 'Father of Immunology." Thanks to him, small pox has virtually been eliminated from the planet. Jenner. a Christian doctor who healed in the name of Christ.

And, if you've ever had an infection accompanied by a fever that Christ did not miraculously heal as He did your cancer, and you had to have penicillin or a form of penicillin to fight the infection and cure the infection, you can thank another Christian doctor, Alexander Fleming, and his discovery of penicillin.

You might be interested in reading, Doctors Who Followed Christ. Available here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0825427347/tektonministries

My doctor, Dr. Huff, stands in the tradition of these great doctors who follow Christ.

mgrah92
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mgrah92 06/15/10 - 03:58 pm
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Dan - thanks so much for

Dan - thanks so much for stretching my consideration of these matters. I appreciate your well thought out insights, understanding, and personal experience.

I can share another example of miraculous healing being provided by God. I have a friend with medical records of being diagnosed with prostate cancer last summer as a result of a biopsy. His doctor scheduled him to receive radiation treatments based on the test results. He chose to believe God would heal him and canceled his radiation treatments. He and his wife and our church began prayer for his healing. He asked for additional intercessory prayer last December. He had another biopsy in April and was confirmed to be free and clear of prostate cancer - PRAISE GOD <(((><

I am still believing it is God's will to heal all of us, of all diseases, even before we get to Heaven.

I would like to continue our dialogue. I sent an email to you.

Blessings to you, my brother in Christ.

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Dan White 06/16/10 - 11:32 am
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mgrah92 - My main email is

mgrah92 - My main email is danwhite5868@yahoo.com. I didn't receive it. Please re-send. Looking forward to the dialogue. Will try and check my other email box if I can remember the password LOL!

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