My first encounter with the term placebo was during an episode of MASH, short for mobile army surgical hospital. Due to extreme weather conditions and the volatility of an approaching enemy, medical supplies were cut off. Thus, the only remaining medicine on site were sugar cubes. While science was not on the side of these doctors, a plan was devised to convince their patients taking this placebo would improve their condition.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind, James 1:5-6.
This harmless pill is prescribed for the psychological benefit to a patient rather than for any physiological effect. As long as individuals believe the medicine that they are taking will help their current state, conditions of patients remain the same or improve. However, as soon as minds begin to doubt, sugar cubes are no longer effective. Subsequently, faith is a deciding factor, believing and trusting in doctors to cure and heal their illness.
When the disciples saw it, they were astonished and asked, “How is it that the fig tree has withered away all at once?” 21 Jesus replied to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have faith [personal trust and confidence in Me] and do not doubt or allow yourself to be drawn in two directions, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen [if God wills it]. 22 And whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive,” Matthew 21:20-22.
Jesus provides a spiritual placebo for his disciples in the passage above. The disciples began to limit God’s power in their minds. This lack of faith stunted their full potential as future spiritual leaders. Therefore, Jesus used the withering of a unfruitful fig tree as a teachable moment. The spiritual placebo in this passage is putting your confidence and personal trust in Jesus. When you reach this spiritual place, the power of prayer is unleashed. If you reach a point in your life where you’ve tried every earthly remedy without any improvement, take this spiritual placebo from Jesus so that improvement will begin immediately.
by Jay Mankus