If The Bible Says God Can Heal Me, Why Do I Need A 12-Step Program?

If The Bible Says God Can Heal Me, Why Do I Need A 12-Step Program?Christians who seek recovery from food addiction and eating disorders through a 12-step program may wonder if such a program is even necessary. Believing that God is able to heal the person who has faith, a 12-step program of recovery seems superfluous. Can’t we simply go to God directly? Why the need for the “steps and tools” of recovery?

The believer recognizes that all healing and restoration comes from the gracious hand of God. But throughout the course of history, and the course of our own lives, we can see that God has chosen to act both directly and indirectly. A person suffering from an infection may pray to God for healing and then go to the doctor to receive an antibiotic. After taking the medication and being restored to health, he may rightly thank God for the healing. While God did not effect an immediate healing, He did provide wisdom to the doctor and materials for the antibiotics. God acted through human agents, but was certainly acting.

In other circumstances, God provides immediate, direct healing. A cocaine addict struggles for years with his addiction, prays to be free of it and then wakes up suddenly cured. He is averse to his former fix and has nothing more to do with it ever. It is an unmediated miracle and very much an act of God.

While these sorts of direct, miraculous healings do indeed take place, more commonly God works through people and means, over time, to effect the healing and growth of an individual. These processes are in the mind of God only. We cannot explain why some heal quickly and others struggle for years. Some will find recovery and others will continue to battle.

So why a 12-step program? God, in His grace, has provided a way out of addiction. While God could heal every addict who ever offered up a prayer for freedom from bondage, it has pleased Him to allow the development of a program by which addicts could heal and grow incrementally and in the fellowship of others who were similarly afflicted.

The growth that takes place via the 12-step program is often uncomfortable. The express purpose of the process is to level our pride and reduce our egos. God could miraculously remove our compulsion to abuse food without the help of a program, but we would not have the same opportunity to grow in humility, to develop faith, and to begin to understand what it means to love our neighbor as ourselves. Pride is what kept us far from God and close to addiction. Step by step, the program excises this offending character defect from our lives.

Know that your prolonged quest to be free of addiction is never in vain. The Apostle Paul also struggled with a lifelong thorn. God gave him this not so that he would be tormented, but so that He would be glorified as Paul’s chief source of strength and power.

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Your recovery journey is an opportunity to show the world God’s power in weakness. Rather than wish it away or lament the need for such a program and a process, we can give thanks that God has brought us to this program and given us an opportunity to share His greatness and power at work in our lives.

If you are still in the clutches of an eating disorder and praying that God would heal you, seek the help of a 12-step program. This step of faith can open the floodgates of God’s power and blessing in your life. In addition to healing and restoration, you will be granted the opportunity to witness God’s glory and victory over your weakness. If you are praying for healing, you must accept that a program may be the very way that God is intending to answer that prayer.