Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Living Ethically in the Light of the Bible
Matthew 15:32-39; Acts 23:12-35; Psalm 42; Exodus 35-36
When our health fails us, we can be left feeling like the psalmist in Psalm 42. The pain may be agonising, leaving us crying either literally or metaphorically. We know God is with us, yet we also wonder if he really is. We long for his comfort and encouragement, for deep inside we know we are depressed and dejected. We dare to wonder if he might have forgotten us.
Other things feed our doubts. “Where is your God now?” we hear within our own minds, or read into the knowing looks we get from those who have questioned our faith. We remember conversations when people questioned God’s love or existence as they talked about those who suffered or died untimely deaths. We may worry about what people think of us for believing in a God whose doesn’t seem to answer prayers. In some parts of the world, Christians have more to worry about. People still plot to kill Christians just as they did with Paul (Acts 23:12-25).
Pain and suffering lead to questions about whether God exists. If there is no God, how we respond makes little ultimate difference. We are free to choose the approach we deem best. We can fight the pain with everything medicine has to offer, or call on medicine to end the fight when life seems to have nothing left to offer. Some want to end a pregnancy that causes anguish, or create life by any available technology to end the pain of childlessness. We can manipulate genes, pop pills, surgically augment and do whatever it takes to end the pain. If there is no God.
The psalmist takes another path. He feels the pain. He cries in anguish. And he reaches out to God in prayer. He asks God why he has forgotten him, why he must continue to suffer. He doesn’t get a direct answer, but he remembers that he can trust God. He recalls the times when his faith was stronger, when he publicly joined others in celebrating God. He chooses to remember that God is his God and his Saviour.
We today have the life of Jesus as further evidence that God does care. Matthew 15:32-39 tells us that Jesus noticed the people’s hunger and tiredness. He had compassion on them and provided the nourishment they needed. Paul was provided the protection he needed to escape the plot on his life. As we remember these events, and how God has taken care of us in the past, we can join the psalmist in putting our hope in God. We can then approach medicine or biotechnology with a different perspective, gratefully receiving what they legitimately offer without looking to them for salvation.