In the portion of a Beth Moore Bible study I was working through tonight, she made a comparison between physical sickness and spiritual sickness. It really struck a cord with me, so in order to process a little more I decided to make my own comparison.
Two years ago I was at the end of my first year of teaching. It had been a long, hard year; but I was confident that I was finishing strong and heading into a wonderful summer of rest. For 6 weeks of the summer I rested and rested. I felt great and had some fun times, but I was resting a lot! After that 6 weeks I hit a wall and started coming down with some type of strange virus. After 2 weeks of being in and out of the doctor, they finally diagnosed me with mono. I spent 3 to 4 months taking very good care of myself trying to recover. This past winter (a year and a half after first having mono) I came to the realization that I have just never been the same. I get sick all the time. I've always required a lot of sleep, but since having mono the amount of sleep I've needed has been unreal. I started seeing a nutritionist and am currently in the process of finally really healing. What I learned is that I had not been eating the way I should to allow my body to fully heal. I'd been letting my stress level increase without realizing what that was doing to my physical body. After the initial healing, I had not allowed myself to let the healing process work to its full scale.
There are a few things from this story that to me make really good parallels to spiritual sickness:
1) Spiritual sickness can seem to come out of nowhere when in actuality it's been strengthening for a long time. I did not suddenly come down with mono in July of 2006. I had been working at getting it for months due to the stress and exhaustion and running down of my immune system that happened during my first year of teaching. In my spiritual life I have noticed before that I will "suddenly" feel extremely empty and lonely and wonder where that came from. The truth will be that I have neglected my alone time with God which at first doesn't affect me drastically, but overtime causes major damage to my spiritual health! Unfortunately, it is all too easy for me say, "Hey-I had a really good quiet time yesterday and I'm feeling good today. I'm just going to read my novel instead." The next thing I know, I will be stressed out to the max and realize it's been a week since I've blocked out time for God-and therefore, I cannot cope with life! The thing about taking care of ourselves physically is that we don't realize how good it is for our bodies to eat right and get good rest and exercise until we don't do it for a while and get sick. The same is true for time with God. We take for granted that every time we spend time with God, our spiritual health gets a little stronger. We may not feel the effects immediately, but we may soon realize we haven't been sick in a long time!
2) Sometimes due to this busy life we don't let ourselves completely heal from an illness before we jump right back into the real world. The same can be true for spiritual illness. Sometimes it can take years to heal from spiritual wounds. Unfortunately many times spiritual wounds are the easiest to hide, therefore delaying the ability to heal. Just like a doctor encourages us to give ourselves plenty of time to be well before returning to normal activities, so does our Great Physician encourage us to spend the time needed in His care to allow our spiritual wounds to be healed with His love.
I am on the road to a much healthier me than I have been since falling prey to mono 2 years ago. Already I feel tons better and it's been only 2 months since starting to work with the nutritionist. I pray that as my body gets back into shape I can remember to keep my spiritual health just as well tended and cared for as I am my physical being. I pray the same for you as well.
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."