Nate led a healthy life. He didn’t have a relationship with a general physician and took no prescription drugs. Except for bunion surgery, he was blessed with flawless well-being until his sixties, but then several things popped up simultaneously: colon polyps, skewed prostate numbers and lower back pain. He faithfully followed medical instructions, after which problems #1 and #2 disappeared. He was in the process of tackling problem #3 when cancer arrived, and no one could offer a remedy for that.
Nate knew how fortunate he was to experience six decades of good health and felt sincere sympathy for friends who underwent physical suffering. When his own health received a terminal blow, he knew it would crush him physically but refused to let it crush him emotionally. He understood there was nothing he could have done to prevent it and didn’t spend one minute bemoaning his assignment. Instead he moved into it with a mind-set of determination. As his physical vigor diminished, his emotional vitality remained stable.
Lately I’ve been thinking about my own health. Just like Nate, I recognize the tremendous, unearned blessing of a disease-free life. Except for minor issues here and there, I’ve had nothing to complain about. Watching my husband go through his calamity taught me a great deal about how to weather my own storm, whenever it comes.
At some point good health will end. Short of a sudden accident, I’ll one day be sitting in a doctor’s office receiving bad news. It’s logical and inevitable. When that moment arrives, whether later or sooner, I hope God taps me on the shoulder with two reminders: (1) to accept the news as Nate did, and (2) to refrain from asking, “Why me?”
Learning of a serious health crisis will make both of those reminders difficult to follow. But having watched Nate’s example up close gives me assurance I’ll be able to succeed, too. When my bad news comes, I hope I’ll have a lightning response to turn toward God before anguish gets a grip on me. As the Great Physician, the Lord still makes house calls and comes armed with a doctor’s bag chuck full of remedies for fear and despair.
Although he doesn’t often perform miraculous physical healings these days, he does faithfully rescue from hopelessness. I see God as a loving doctor who eagerly awaits our call so he can minister spectacular help. He delights in racing toward us to sprinkle the treasure of comfort over our misery like diamonds sprinkled among common pebbles. But if we aren’t looking, we can miss them. When we find them, they’ll utterly dazzle us.
Ultimately God will use the power behind his promises to fix every physical problem, but we won’t experience it until the moment when it seems illness has conquered. Just when death readies to roar with victory, exactly then we’ll be gloriously healed!
“By his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5b)