“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…”
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.”
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
I’ve heard these verses on and off throughout my Christian life. I love them. I really take them to heart. I think the reason is the whole “disease” and “sickness” concept, because I deal with it every day. I can’t imagine a day where I don’t need to worry about my health, about my diseases. I long for the day when I’m cured. But that thought seems so far away to me.
I went to a lecture the other day, taught by a nephrologist, all about kidneys. I know, only someone like me would do that, right? Anyway, like any good nephrologist, diabetes was discussed because of the tight relationship between diabetes and the kidneys. You know something that I learned? After 20-25 years of having diabetes, a person is most likely experiencing at least some form of kidney damage because of the havoc wreaked on the body by diabetes. Many times, those people end up having to be on dialysis. Well, doing the math, I have had diabetes for 20 years. I had some people ask me if I had any kidney issues since I’d had diabetes for so long. I said no. They were surprised. So was I, to be honest. I don’t have decreased kidney function, I don’t have protein in my urine, and my kidneys are still kicking. I’d like to say it’s because of my parents’ meticulous care when I was little and couldn’t take care of myself on my own. And, that’s a huge part of it. But, I believe in science, I believe in nursing, I believe in the research done on these diseases. So, the only other explanation I can think of is that God has been watching out for me. God has performed some sort of healing miracle that enables me to not have kidney damage at this point in my life. But it’s scary to think about eventually having to maybe end up on dialysis. That’s terrifying, and I’d like to do everything I can to avoid it.
But what I didn’t always understand about these verses, is that God heals spiritual diseases as well. Now, what do I mean by that? I listened to a podcast this morning from the Village Church, all about the Psalms. And again, sickness and disease was mentioned. But it wasn’t physical sickness that the pastor was talking about. I like to think of “spiritual disease” as something that continually takes your heart’s focus away from God, away from Jesus. It could be looked at as idols, but a disease is something that keeps showing up, keeps intervening, keeps taking away your focus on God. It may even chip away at you until you feel a little lost.
Forewarning, I’m going to be very raw, honest, and open with all of you reading this right now. We all have some sort of “spiritual disease” and I encourage you to think about what that could be for you. For me? One of the things I struggle with is physicality, mostly in relationships. I don’t know how many of you can relate to me. Now all of you know my stance on the whole sex before marriage thing. That hasn’t wavered, for me. It’s the small, gray areas in between that I struggle with. Maybe it’s because I never had guidance about those things from my dad, or from any sort of father figure. From females, I’ve gotten mixed messages. What’s right? What’s wrong? How far should things go? What is appropriate during dating? But, getting guidance from a weathered, upstanding, Christian male has been pretty nonexistent in my life. So, that has kind of left a bit of a burden on me. And I struggle with it. Some may say, don’t do anything that’s uncomfortable for you. You know what’s uncomfortable to me? Not knowing if doing something is right or wrong. Now, I don’t have problems saying no to things that do make me uncomfortable. I’m a bit stubborn. But the unknown territory scares me, to be honest. I try to fashion my life in a way that is pleasing to Christ, but He doesn’t give explicit rules in relation to physicality in dating, besides “fleeing from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). What exactly is “sexual immorality”? Is it sex before marriage? Is it something else in between? So, it’s kind of a gray area, and I struggle with it. I’m sure some of you can relate. It hasn’t affected me just once which makes me think of it as sort of a “spiritual disease”, something that takes my focus off of my relationship with Christ.
We all have something we need to be healed from. We all have things that we still need to identify. So, I encourage you to think about what your disease is. What takes your focus off of Christ continuously? Who can you go to in order to discuss these things? Is there someone in your life who can guide you through all the questions you have? I encourage you to dig deep and truly find the root of the problem, and ask Christ for guidance. He already knows the problem. Just food for thought. Thanks for reading.
“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”