Monday, January 16, 2012

Faith, Health, and Comfort

I ran across this quote recently and recognized in it an important thing to remember when we are discussing health. While there defiantly are many things we should do to take care of ourselves, we will be a nervous wreak if we do not trust God for our health.

"Innumerable are the ills which beset human life, and present death in as many different forms. Not to go beyond ourselves, since the body is a receptacle, nay the nurse, of a thousand diseases, a man cannot move without carrying along with him many forms of destruction. His life is in a manner interwoven with death...Then, in what direction soever you turn, all surrounding objects not only may do harm, but almost openly threaten and seem to present immediate death...Amid these perils, must not man be very miserable, as one who, more dead than alive, with difficulty draws an anxious and feeble breath, just as if a drawn sword were constantly suspended over his neck?...it is impossible not to fear and dread as if they were to befall us. Add that there is something like an insult to God when it is said, that man, the noblest of the creatures, stands exposed to every blind and random stroke of fortune. Here, however, we were only referring to the misery which man should feel, were he placed under the dominion of chance.

"But when once the light of Divine Providence has illumined the believer’s soul, he is relieved and set free from the extreme fear and anxiety which formerly oppressed him...For as he justly shudders at the idea of chance, so he can confidently commit himself to God. This, I say, is his comfort, that his heavenly Father so embraces all things under his power—so governs them at will by his nod—so regulates them by his wisdom, that nothing takes place save according to his appointment; that received into his favour, and entrusted to the care of his angels neither fire, nor water, nor sword, can do him harm, except in so far as God their master is pleased to permit. For thus sings the Psalm, “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust; his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday” &c." (Ps. 91:2-6).

-John Calvin (Institutes, Book 1, Chapter 17, Section 10)

Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
(Psalm 127:1-2 ESV)

With God as our Defender,

-Peter Bringe

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