People in Bible times had health problems. One woman spent everything she had on doctors but her condition only got worse (Mark 5:25-26). Timothy had chronic symptoms related to a stomach illness (I Tim. 5:23). Paul had an ailment he called his “thorn in the flesh” (II Cor. 12:7). The prophet Elisha contracted a disease that eventually took his life (II Kings 13:14). Of course, how could anyone forget Job who had boils all over his body?
Pain changes the way we think in profound ways. It changes our priorities quickly. The one thing we want when we are feeling bad is to feel better, and we do not hesitate to set other concerns aside in the meantime. As long as the pain persists, we will look for relief. We may try to treat ourselves or ask advice from others, but there are times when we come back to the simple fact Jesus taught: sick people need a doctor (Matt. 9:12).
Compared to some parts of the world, we have enormous advantages in medicine. I remember going to a village in Africa that was six hours away from the nearest hospital, and that hospital was nowhere near the standards of even the worst health care facility in America. Some people there had terrible diseases with little or no means of getting help. One brother who was a preacher had elephantiasis which caused unsightly and painful swelling in his limbs. He died a few weeks later.
In our country we can choose from a number of doctors, hospitals, and treatments. If one doctor is not helpful, we can choose another. If one treatment is not effective, we can try something else. The system that has been in place for years provides many alternatives from which to choose. But that may change because of decisions being made by our leaders. Many fear that government involvement in this area of our lives will cause more problems than it will solve.
Christians need to have cool heads in times like these. We can become so angry at politicians that we lose our perspective. We can be so afraid of losing our freedom and prosperity that we paralyze our spiritual man. Are we forgetting that this world is not our home?
The health of our body is important, but it is not nearly as important as the condition of our soul. Disease that destroys the body is serious, but sin that damns the soul is far more serious. Losing our health on earth is painful, but losing our soul in hell is much worse. Rallying and speaking out to save good health care is a noble cause, but teaching and living the gospel to save souls is far better.
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things…” (I Tim. 4:8).
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).
It is natural to be concerned about our earthly condition, but the Christian’s eye is on a better place. We must work to keep things in perspective as we hear so many opinions and causes today, and we should always remember that God still rules.