True or False: Following God will guarantee health, wealth and success.
Of course, we know this to be false. Following God involves sacrifice and suffering with no guarantee that storms won’t come.
True or False: Suffering is a sure sign of disobeying God.
Also, obviously false. However, the verses above do suggest that some suffer due to their own foolishness and turning from God.
For the one in the darkness of chronic illness, how do you know if foolishness is contributing to your suffering? For those around the sufferer, great care should prevent an accusation that the sufferer deserves their pain for some sin they committed. The sufferer also must beware of blaming oneself when no foolishness has occurred.
What to do then? The question is legitimate and needed… but dangerous. It is good to ask oneself and consider if foolishness or lack of wisdom in choices contributes to one’s condition. Poor stewardship of one’s body through overeating or chemical intoxications are real contributors to many people’s illness. These are simpler to see. However, bitterness, laziness, or excessive ambition could also trigger biological damage.
All this self-examination is further complicated by the sufferer’s state of mind during their suffering. Pain and illness affect one’s decision making and emotions. To avoid the extremes possible in this self-examination, wise counsel who stands outside the direct suffering is invaluable. If this is available, together the sufferer may more easily judge how their choices have contributed to the malady.
From there, a physician who acknowledges the full import of health and suffering across body, mind, and spirit serves as further counsel. At Sanctuary, we neither want to blame the patient for their illness nor exonerate lifestyle choices which may have worsened the condition. With careful examination of the patient’s story and application of medical wisdom, we can better tease out biological effects from spiritual and emotional contributions. As I have said many times, our illness is always both spiritual and physical. That is easy to say. The harder part is determining which is contributing more in any given situation and which is the primary source.
Whole person care requires this degree of commitment, looking for all aspects of a patient’s life which may contribute to their illness. Leaving out a piece can prevent the full restoration we strive for in our patients.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.