“HOW SHOULD WE LOOK UPON SICKNESS”
By Daniel H. Kress, M. D.
It is human nature to try to avoid results without inquiring into the causes. If people are sick, all they care about is to get well. They will take any amount of nostrums and patent medicines. They will pay large fees to the doctor, if he will only “cure” the disease. It is like the man behind the prison bars. All he wants is his liberty. But it would not be a safe thing for that man to get out of prison, because he would do the same things he did before, and perhaps, worse things, and the last state of the man would be worse than the first; so the best place for him is the prison, until he is willing to forsake that which led to his arrest.
Sickness is not an enemy, but a friend. Its pains give us friendly warning. They are one of God’s means of correction. ” God speaketh once, yea, twice, yet man perceiveth it not.”[Job 33:14] The Lord speaks to us through his Word,’ and tells us to “abstain from fleshly lusts which, war against the soul.” But we pass on heedlessly. Then He must speak to us in louder tones. He must afflict us with pain. Yet even then His mercy and love are very manifest. The pain is educative in its effect, and God uses it to show us the nature of the disease, so that we may learn to avoid the causes that induced it. For instance, we are told that fools because of their transgressions are afflicted, their soul abhorreth all manner of food.”[Ps 107:17] This is the very best thing that can happen to the sick man, because it gives the system a chance to throw off some of the poisons that have accumulated, and gets the brain into such a condition that it can hear God’s voice again, “Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses,” says David. Their minds are enlightened, and the Lord comes to deliver them.
As soon as men recognize the causes that have made them sick, and are willing to forsake their evil ways, God is ready to remove the sickness. He simply wants us to learn the lesson. David recognized the truth of this when he said: “It is good, for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.”[Ps. 119:71] When a person has the headache, instead of taking something to paralyze the nerves so that they cannot report the bad condition of the system, he should inquire into the causes, and seek to remove them. The very first thing the patient usually does is to take some bromo-caffeine or morphine or something similar, simply to stupefy the nerves. Suppose an army is stationed somewhere, and, at the enemy’s approach, one of the sentinels gives the alarm, and the captain orders him to be shot for it. Soon the enemy would be in the camp. That is what pain is for — to warn us of the enemy’s approach. The arrival of sickness is announced by disagreeable symptoms. Nature hangs out the danger-signals in order that we may take heed to our ways, and escape the threatened evil. This view of the matter is in harmony with the instructions in the fifth chapter of James, where the sick brother is told to call for the elders of the church, and let them pray for him, and is also told to confess his faults that he may be healed. When there is a willingness on our part to abandon the causes that have induced disease, God is ready to manifest his healing power. But while we are stupefying the brain and nerves by health-destroying habits, we are working against God, who must speak to us by means of pain.
Let us pray for a new consecration of the whole being, mind and body, to the great Creator and Redeemer, and let us study that wonderful machine, the human body, with reverence and holy fear. Then shall we be ready to receive the Holy Spirit, which God has already given to us and to our children, but which our fleshly minds have not properly discerned.