By Michael E. Brooks
“Our skin is hot as an oven, because of the fever of famine” (Lamentations 5:10 NKJV).
I had just come back down to Katmandu after 12 days trekking in the Himalayas. I enjoyed a good night’s rest, then on Saturday morning met with some of the local Christians about their work. As we met, I began to develop aches and fever. By noon, I was suffering with a flu like illness and was forced to go to bed and begin medication.
Work ceased, and I worried about continuing my travels on schedule. Thankfully a few hours’ rest and some medication brought the fever down, removed the aches, and restored my strength.
It is no fun to be sick, even with minor illnesses when we are at home. It is especially worrisome to be sick in a distant country where familiar doctors, facilities and medicines are not available. Diseases we hardly notice at home seem much more threatening under those conditions.
I am frequently asked about illness and treatment when abroad. “Are there good doctors or hospitals available where you go? Do you have to take shots or preventive medicines for your trips?” The answers are, “Not always” and “Yes.” Health is a serious matter, and we take all these issues very seriously indeed.
As important as physical health is however, our spiritual health is much more important. Jeremiah uses the physical distress and suffering of the survivors of the fall of Jerusalem to illustrate and emphasize the spiritual devastation experienced in his time. Israel had forsaken God, therefore God delivered them into captivity. As much as they suffered physically, it was their sin that was the real catastrophe.
As fever is a symptom of physical illness, there are also easily recognized symptoms of spiritual disease. These include bad language, anger, fear, doubt, negativism and hypocrisy. When we begin to detect such characteristics or behaviors, it is time to take the Good Doctor’s advice. No, not, “Take an aspirin and call me in the morning.” Rather, “Pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17), rejoice (Philippians 4:4), give thanks (1 Timothy 2:1), and do good unto all (Galatians 6:10).”
Nothing good results when we ignore the symptoms of illness. This is even more true spiritually than physically. Pay attention to your health.
By Michael E. Brooks