I was diagnosed a couple of weeks ago with two inguinal hernias. Not one. Two. Bi-lateral. This has helped me realize that I have been holding an improper view if my own health, and that our courage rises with the confidence that God is in control…
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
I was deeply convicted by this story that Jesus tells about this certain rich man. I am this certain rich man. And although the parable is about riches and wealth, my conviction has to do with the riches of health. I have been fairly rich in health in my life, which unfortunately has sharpened my sense of self.
I was diagnosed a couple of weeks ago with two inguinal hernias. Not one. Two. Bi-lateral. I knew something wasn’t right – I felt like I had pulled something in my groin while doing sit ups. Doc sent me for an ultrasound and the result was two hernias – one on each side of my groin.
There will be customary visits to a surgeon and a waiting period to have the surgery. The recovery will be a few weeks. It will be longer because there are two hernias instead of only one. Blah blah blah.
I have said numerous times in the last few weeks that I am discouraged by my circumstances. I have been discouraged to the point of tears over this. I keep saying it over and over. It’s discouraging. I’m discouraged. Why? Because of how long this will take. Because of how it will impact my freedom. Because I don’t want to go through it.
There are several people around me who are suffering with cancer, unpredictable seizures, and complex seemingly undiagnosable brain issues. These people and their families are the picture of faithfulness to God in their circumstances. I am amazed at their strength within weakness. And as I listened to brother Daniel speak on this story from Luke recently, it dawned on me that I have been holding an improper view if my own health.
Daniel shared that the riches in the man’s storehouses were his, yet they came from God because only God makes things grow. God had provided the man with his wealth, just like he provides each of us with what we need. Our very lives, he said, are the gift and blessing of God.
I am the guy who doesn’t get sick. I don’t want your sniffle or your cough. I use paper towel to turn off sinks and open doors. I hold my breath after someone sneezes near me. The depths of my germaphobia are profound. And they are linked to my self-righteousness relating to my health.
I believe I am well because of me. I believe I don’t get sick because of me.
I am discouraged about two hernias because I have lost the control I used to have over my health and wellness destiny.
The truth is, however, that the control we think we have over that thing – whether it’s health or wealth or our child’s performance or our career success – is not our control at all. God is in control. And when God is in control and we know it with all our hearts, we are never discouraged – we are encouraged. Our courage rises with the confidence that God is in control.
It’s true that we ought to take care of ourselves and work hard and live right, yet the idea that we alone are the authors of our fates is laughable in the heavens. God could, as he did with the man in our story, demand our lives from us this very night.
I have asked God for forgiveness for lording my health over others and for hoarding my health from God. When we think we are the ones in control, we are more likely to think that we get to make all the choices ourselves. The idea of being rich toward God stops making sense at this point. Our health or wealth or whatever becomes ours to use as we desire.
The thankful, humble, and grateful heart recognizes that God gives and takes away. I don’t exactly know why I have two hernias. It feels like a wake up call to recognize God’s place in my health and well-being. It seems like a humbling experience which will force me to rely more on others. It seems like a gentle, yet firm reminder that I am not in control.
I am no longer discouraged. Since I surrendered my health and my hernias to God I have been encouraged. I take comfort that God is guiding me and has me in his hands. He is in control and I am fully trusting him.
What are you keeping from God and controlling yourself? Would you surrender that thing to God today?