Anyone who has experienced chronic illness, or the lingering effects of illness such as ‘long Covid’, knows that the path of diagnosis is a long and winding and uncertain road. Those who travel this road feel the weight of the phrase, ‘practicing medicine.’
Indeed, we are blessed to live in an age of unprecedented medical understanding. We routinely treat conditions that would have killed our great grandparents. Our medical technology is like science fiction to our elders. We decoded our genome. We ‘edit’ our DNA with Crisper. We perform delicate surgical procedures with robotic assistance. We have medicinal therapies that have eradicated diseases which plagued mankind for millennia. Yet there is still so much we do not know.
The human body remains a vast mystery. Many common terminal conditions are uncurable and untreatable. Years ago, my wife and I faced a series of devastating losses in childbearing. One of the more experienced OBs that cared for us noted that our losses appeared ‘idiopathic.’ “What does that mean?” I asked. He responded, “it is a clinical way of saying, we just don’t know.” And the Lord reminded us that only He opens and closes the womb.
Much of our illness is idiopathic. We don’t know what it is, where it came from, or what to do about it. Sometimes doctors can help. But often we feel like the woman in Luke 8:43 who had “spent all her living on physicians, [yet] she could not be healed by anyone.” The best doctors are still only ‘practicing medicine.’ Only the Creator is sovereign over the human body and the human condition. As one pastor said, “medicine is a great tool but a terrible deity.”
We may have good doctors, but there is only one Great Physician. Our lives are in His hands alone. In sickness we should find good doctors. But to find complete healing, we must go to the Great Physician. While many illnesses are not “a sickness unto death,” there is one malady which is. A malady which kills body and soul. An affliction we call sin. The ultimate pandemic for which everyone tests positive. It brings sorrow, malady, and death. And for this sickness unto death there is no balm of Gilead, save one – faith in the finished and sufficient work of Christ on our behalf.
In Exodus 9 we read about the first plague which arises from human sickness. The sixth plague comes unannounced. No warning is given. Moses and Aaron appear before Pharaoh and his magicians and with soot from the brick kilns initiate a devastating pandemic with symptoms of both cutaneous anthrax and small pox except with ‘gain of function.’ The magician-priests, from the cult of Egypt’s healing gods cannot even heal themselves. They flee to their sick beds. No Egyptian escapes, yet all who shelter under God’s grace are untouched.
This plague is an intensification of God’s judgement against Pharaoh, his gods, and his people. Previous plagues were outside the body. External afflictions that could be swatted, avoided, blamed. But this plague is within its victims. And so, it is an apt picture of sin. It comes with a circumstance, but it is not outside of us. We cannot blame Adam, or our parents, or our wicked culture. It is ours. We must bear it. We must own it. Oh! That someone else could bear it. Take it away. Give us relief, healing.
If you feel the weight of this here is good news. Jesus Christ came into the world to,
“to proclaim good news to the poor.
… to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
“to save sinners of whom [you and I] are the foremost.” 1 Timothy 1:16
And elsewhere we read.
Surely he has borne our griefsIsaiah 53:4-6
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Sin is a plague, a pandemic of biblical proportions. There is no prophylaxis, no vaccine, no PPE, no social distancing for it. But there is a cure! Join us as we examine Exodus 9:8-12 and consider the sixth plague and the much worse plague that it pictures and hear of a cure that is 100% effective.
We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube.