the gift of health

I don’t know if you’ve occasionally heard people talk about sickness or suffering as a gift from God? You know, something that may not be pleasant or enjoyable but isn’t to be wasted? Usually invoked in support of this are passages like 2 Cor 12.7b-9 (about Paul’s thorn) or the biblical theme of God disciplining his people as dearly loved children.

Now I have some reservations about this (along similar lines to this article by the Bishop of South Sydney). But the point I want to make in this post is that my ongoing experience of sickness over the course of this year — nothing really bad, just persistent and more difficult to shake than previously — has taught me the reverse. It’s helped me see that health itself is a gift.

Maybe I’m starting to shake off my youthful illusions of invulnerability. Or maybe I’ve been given a peek behind the way modern Western healthcare contributes to our habit of avoiding honest confrontation with our own limitation and mortality.

Epidemic Prevention

Epidemic Prevention by tioguerra, on Flickr

Either way, I’m gradually getting a sense that health is not necessarily the default option. It’s not a natural state to be presumed upon and taken for granted. Rather it is a gift — and like all God’s good gifts it is to be received thankfully, enjoyed humbly and its benefits shared generously…

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