When disease hits too close to home
I’ve been dealing with some annoying health stuff for the last 9 months or so. Nothing life-threatening, but I’m working with Doctors, changing my diet, taking meds and supplements, evaluating potential causes, blah, blah, blah…you know the drill. Even though it’s not something that will kill me, it is frustrating that my body isn’t working as well as it used to. I’m not that old, really. But when you pile this recent development on top of my near-sightedness, my semi-frequent migraines, and a slightly unstable right shoulder…I get the feeling that it’s not going to get any easier as the years continue to pile up.
When I look around at my family, it seems I’m not the only one. There’s high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, bi-polar struggles, and a long list of other maladies. I’m sure you and your family could come up with a similar type of list.
As we deal with these health issues now, it’s really easy to get frustrated. I mean, God created everything…and could easily stop any of the health problems that we encounter. So, why doesn’t He?
We can usually come to some sort of peace about this troubling question by reminding ourselves that we live in a fallen world, that Jesus will make everything right when He returns, and that we have perfectly good resurrection bodies to look forward to. However, there are some situations when these answers fall short or feel hollow. The one that really gets to me is my brother. He has MS. Wait…before going further, let me re-frame that for you:
My younger brother, who is in his mid-30s, has three kids under the age of 10, faithfully loves his wife, leads in a church that he helped plant, is active in his community, one of the hardest workers I know, a student of the Bible, works in end-of-life hospice care taking care of people who need help, loves Jesus and knows that he is loved by Jesus…he has Multiple Sclerosis.
MS is a failure of the immune system to function properly. Instead of protecting his body, his immune system attacks him. He has made adjustments to his life, but the MS has already taken ground – and it doesn’t give ground back. He could be fine today and be in a wheelchair tomorrow, or he may be fine for many years…but all MS patients end up in the same place. His body, in the end, will destroy itself.
I can quickly move from frustration to anger over this. Serious, indignant, vision-blurred-by-tears anger. God could show up and fix this, RIGHT? So…what is He waiting for? Why delay healing my brother? Why wait for the resurrection?
Did you know…when Jesus was on Earth, He was asked these same questions?
The questions weren’t part of a parable or found in one of His teachings. Jesus was asked, straight-up. Real life was happening. They loved Jesus and He loved them – but they were looking right at Jesus for answers as they dealt with the most unfair moment of their lives.
I need to know how Jesus answered their questions, and there are a few more things I am wondering:
What did Jesus say?
Did He show any emotion?
Did He seem to even care?
We’ll look for answers to these questions as we launch into this next study. For now, I am clinging to something Paul wrote many years later:
2 Corinthians 4:16
Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.
Our current bodies are falling apart, and it is hard to deal with. The diseases we encounter in this fallen world are vicious, malicious, and ruthless. It’s especially difficult to helplessly watch the people we love succumb to them. But no matter how heavy these moments are, God helps us keep the proper perspective:
2 Corinthians 4:17
For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.
Today’s crushing avalanche will be nothing more than a light mist in comparison to the eternal glory to be revealed in us.
Even if we cannot see it right now, because our eyes are blurred by tears.