I was raised in a Christian home and served as an altar girl at a Protestant Church until I was aged eighteen. My family and friends live across the globe and I have visited a variety of churches ranging from Roman Catholic to Evangelical in the UK, US and Nigeria. I would say I am familiar with the Christian message in its varied forms and nowhere in the Bible does it suggest that as a Christian you should not accept help and assistance in your time of need. Despite this, I regularly encounter those in the black community who refuse medical interventions in the hope that God will cure them of their diseases or ailments.
As a British-Nigerian, I can no longer count the times that I have heard relatives state that their health is in God’s hands - lacking any motivation to engage with interventions that may improve their own wellbeing. Is it not plausible that God’s divine intervention to stop someone having a stroke is for that person to be diagnosed with high blood pressure and have their GP prescribe life-saving medication? Surely being diagnosed early and having available treatment is enough of a blessing? Rather than accept a diagnosis and heed the benefits of treatment, I hear older relatives remark that they ‘reject the diagnosis’ or ‘it will not be so, in God’s name’. These ideas are often reinforced by backward preachers that tell their congregation to place all their faith in the power of healing whilst ignoring medical advice, as if healing and engaging with medical professionals are mutually exclusive processes.