Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Spiritual aches and pains

A number of years ago, I went through a fairly lengthy period--perhaps a year or longer--in which I suffered from a rather painful problem: much of the skin on my fingers peeled off and took a long, long time to regrow. This may sound odd, but the cause for this malady wasn't rooted in any kind of physical illness. Instead, I found the key to the problem when I learned that such problems can be triggered by stress. My stress was on account of a difficult situation at work: a person who was the boss of a different group had been going around my boss and pressuring me and other members of my team to do things for her. Her behavior provoked a lot of bitterness and anger among many folks. Although I was a professing Christian by then, I was regrettably one of those people. Although I wasn't the type of person who acted out my anger, I was the type who let it seethe within my sinful heart, and my bitterness proved to be sufficient to cause my body a great deal of stress. Once by God's grace I got around to forgiving the difficult person, my problem quickly cleared up, and I've had no recurrence of the problem. In fact, my fingers and hands are in excellent shape!

More recently, I've been dealing with another physical problem. This time, my problem has to do with gastro-intestinal symptoms that often make me feel uncomfortable and occasionally make it impossible for me to eat certain foods or more than a small quantity of food. In God's mercy I've found some issues regarding what I eat and how I eat it that have brought me a measure of relief from my symptoms, but I still suffer to some degree. I recently saw a doctor to see if he could offer me any assistance, and he asked me an interesting question: "Are you under any stress?" When he asked me, I didn't think I was under any real stress other than over the physical malady that had brought me to his office, but afterwards it occurred to me that I presently have several people in my life towards whom I have persisted in holding a grudge. Although I've been outwardly polite and tolerant towards every one of them, I have held onto a bitter and resentful attitude towards them. Now that I've realized this, I've been seeking God's help in forgiving them and learning to treat them with neighborly love and grace. Hopefully as I learn to forgive those who offend me, God will also grant me a measure of relief from my physical affliction as well. Already I've noticed that my symptoms do seem to come and go with my "stress", so I'm optimistic that I will enjoy at least a measure of deliverance as God conforms me more to the image of Christ regarding these folks.

In view of these two situations, I can testify that excessive stress can indeed be a contributing factor in physical afflictions, and that at least some of this stress can come about as a result of sinful attitudes. Therefore, I thank God for allowing me to be thus afflicted, because by doing so He has made me aware of remaining sin that not only does harm to me and my neighbor but more importantly is dishonoring to God Himself. May God continue to sanctify me through whatever means are necessary to conform me to the image of Jesus Christ!

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?