On Health
by Jim Venable

I'm not sure what health is. I mean, I imagine that if a person has no major physical ailments and feels good, that he's healthy. Much of the time I'm almost healthy, but rarely can I say I'm really well. As long as I can remember, I've had some physical complaint, whether it be a cough, a pain, a sore, a cold, etcetera, ad infinitum. So to avoid having to describe that day's particular malady to the disinterested "How are you?" I generally respond quickly with a smiling "Good," or "Fine," or if I really feel badly, "Fair to midlin."

To me, health is like wealth, to really have it seems so far off, so unreal and unattainable, yet so very desireable. Health is far preferable to wealth, however. Much pleasure and happiness is possible having health but not wealth, but really bad health destroys all possibility of enjoying one's wealth. Why people destroy their health in the pursuit of wealth is very curious, yet millions do it. It's a terrible tradeoff. But one of the worst situations in this life, I suppose, is to have neither health nor wealth. This is the plight of some very wretched souls, and one would be a saint indeed to maintain joy in the midst of such misery. The only thing worse is to have no love. Ironically, for someone in this condition, love might be hard to find, and a person without health, wealth or love might as well live in hell. Even the Biblical Job survived the loss of health and wealth by the powerful knowledge of God's love for him, and through love, combined with faith, rebounded to victory, his health and wealth finally restored.

God uses our health, or the lack of it, to get our attention. Countless people have carelessly strayed from Him, lured away by the pleasures and attractions of the world, and have snapped to attention quickly when they developed a serious health problem. Health problems get people praying . . . fast! For me, it doesn't take much . . . just a little arthritis, a little pain, and I start talking to the Lord. Pain spoils my "fun;" it makes me serious. What does God want to say to me? Job did the same thing. He wanted to know what God was up to. He couldn't understand why God would curse him so, since He hadn't rebelled against God. Job's losses and sufferings got the man's full attention!

Since health is so important to us, people rearrange their life styles, their priorities, their values, even their moral code, to gain or maintain it. Some endure great pain for health; some sacrifice all their wealth for it; some believe and act upon the most obvious hoaxes in the hopes of obtaining it; some even kill themselves because they cannot get it, finding death preferable to living without it. Such a powerful motivator must be of use to God in His dealings with us!

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(C) Jim Venable. All rights reserved.