This is Part 2 of “What does the world say about sickness?” In the last post we looked at how we as humans respond to sickness and Watching. This post has a few more observations, and a much needed conclusion.
What the world says about prayer (some thoughts)
If prayer makes you feel better, go right ahead. Just don’t expect it to work.
Prayer is about you, and your healing should be the sole motive behind your prayer.
Anyone can pray. You don’t have to believe in God.
What the world says about Jesus (some thoughts)
Jesus was a good man, but sort of ineffectual. After all, he only healed the few people he saw while he lived.
If Jesus was God, his life doesn’t apply to us. We don’t have super hero powers.
What the world says about responding to our Loved One (some thoughts)
Good on you for being so caring. Make sure you keep a strict control on your time so the relationship doesn’t eat into your ‘me time’, or disadvantage you too much.
Keep re-evaluating. Perhaps it is time to step away. Give yourself a breather. You’ve done a lot, and it’s hard work. You deserve a break, and besides, surely it’s someone else’s turn by now. No one will fault you if you throw in the towel. In fact, doing so might just show everyone else your strength of character.
Make sure, above all else, that no one is ‘using’ you. No one or no relationship is worth giving up your independence for. Pursue your dreams at all costs.
They have to help themselves. If they don’t and you see no change in either their attitude or outlook, you should leave because it is pointless. You can’t help them and therefore there is no point trying.
Family and friends are all we have. You must stick with them thick or thin. After all, that is all we have in the end.
What the world says about our Loved Ones (some thoughts)
By all means support and love them, but only if you have time.
Do what you think is best, and if you fail, well, no one can blame you.
I can’t believe the sick person is acting in this way. Don’t they understand what I’ve sacrificed to come see them? I was going to go out to coffee this afternoon and I’ve had to postpone that until tomorrow. And now they don’t even seem very pleased to see me!
My life is hard too, and I don’t get the luxury of staying at home or lying around. Some of us have jobs to do – after all, someone has to contribute to society! I will only offer them sympathy if and when they seem genuinely sick, and of course, I’m the best judge of that.
It’s too hard to talk to them. We have nothing in common, and there’s always these long pauses when we converse. Perhaps it’s best to avoid them. After all, the last thing I want to do is add to their discomfort. And mine.
I wonder if their sickness is really as bad as they describe? After all, I saw them at the shops the other week, and they looked fine to me.
Oh no, there’s their Watcher. Well I can’t afford to have my mood dampened today, I’ve had such a hard week. I’ll ask them how they are going another day.
What the world says about heaven (some thoughts)
Of course heaven exists! Everyone will at peace after death, in a better place. They don’t deserve anything less.
Always be optimistic when you are with the sick and suffering. For them, heaven always exists. There are always greener pastures, and beautiful daisies.
No, heaven doesn’t exist. But at least with death comes an end – finally – to all the suffering and hardship they were forced to endure on earth. There’s no redemption, but at least there is a conclusion.
Looking at the evidence
Please, tell me if you think this is wrong, but my summary of the World’s response is this:
There is actually no response. The world upholds contradictory values and beliefs. It gives us contrary messages. Sometimes simultaneously. It tells us both to let go of our bitterness, and to embrace it. It tells us to sacrifice and to protect ourselves at all costs. I’m not saying at this point whether these are right or wrong, I’m simply saying I don’t believe they can exist together.
I started this series by proposing an in depth look into the question of whether Sickness and Christianity could co-exist. Perhaps we should ask whether The World and sickness can coexist.
Yet the issue is, so much of what I wrote above is not just ‘the world’s’ response- it’s my heart’s response too. You see, I didn’t go out and interview half of the world’s population to find the answers… I merely looked into my own self.
What the world says resonates with me. Even if we profess intellectually not to believe it, don’t our actions at times demonstrate that on a deeper level we actually do? We say that all sickness is wrong, yet we act as if some people deserve it more than others. We say that we ought to love selflessly, and yet we find ourselves retreating into a protective shell.
The crux of the matter
In the end the reason the world offers contradictory responses, is because what it cares most about is yourself. Your happiness, your safety, your comfort. And thus truths change depending on what makes us feel good in each circumstance, whether that is altruism or egotism.
This is a carefully hidden secret. We all try and convince ourselves that we care about our family, our friends, others around us. And we do. But, perhaps, only so much as their happiness makes us happy too.
Happiness at all times and in all moments is our right. That belief is engrained on our hearts. The pursuit of happiness’ at all costs. Why? Because we believe we deserve it.
Not according to the Bible.
No, according to that we deserve hell, like all people who have rebelled against their Creator. Does that mean our suffering is a direct judgement of God? In most cases, no, but it does mean that we do not actually deserve, nor can we expect, a perfect life. The world is fallen. The Bible makes it clear that suffering and sickness is not only normal, but it should be expected.
It is only a Western myth which says something is wrong with us if we are suffering.
Go over to developing countries and tell them that.
That is not to say suffering is good. It’s not. But neither is it a strange or abnormal experience. It is merely indicative of a world gone wrong.
Is the world’s response to sickness adequate? Is it right? Is it logical?
That is up to you to decide.
Look into the evidence. Examine your heart. Double guess, triple question everything. Don’t be duped.
If you come to the conclusion that the world’s response is not enough for you, where will you look?
By God’s grace I looked to Jesus and it has changed my life.
For the better, and for good.
// What sort of response to suffering do you see in the world and culture around you? What about inside your own heart? Is it adequate? Why/why not?
This is a contentious issue. What are your thoughts?