“Ease” is defined as lack of difficulty or effort; “dis” indicates the reversal or absence of a state. So, when I talk about “disease” I am more generally talking about “dis-ease” or a struggle of some sort; some difficulty we might be wrestling with or trying to overcome or just get through. God has given us a body, a soul (mind, will, and emotions) and a spirit. Our dis-eases can affect each aspect of our being.
We are all familiar with body dis-ease—illnesses, injuries and such in our physical bodies. We know the Apostle Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh,” an affliction of some sort, probably a chronic disease. He sought the Lord three times to remove it. Instead, our Lord chose to show Paul His sufficient grace in his affliction. Did that make bearing his affliction easy? Not likely, but we know God worked through Paul in a mighty way to accomplish His purposes. And we know Paul experienced great joy in his life through the Holy Spirit in spite of his affliction.
Some may be troubled with dis-eases of the mind—the soul, if you will, the seat of our emotions. These dis-eases include troubling thoughts, unreasonable fears, anxiety, and others. Martin Luther suffered most of his adult life from “melancholy.” Today we call it depression. Was it lack of faith causing his depression? Certainly not! Did our Lord sustain him and give him joy in his life? He certainly did! God cares about the state of our mind. He is the restorer of our soul (Psalm 23:3).
What about spiritual dis-ease? Spiritual dis-ease occurs when we are out of sorts with God, fellow Christians, or ourselves. Angry with God? Overcome with guilt? Ashamed? Avoiding prayer or God’s Word? The Psalmist teaches us that keeping silent about our sins causes great distress, but when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Our God is a Rock, and He is never surprised. As believers, we have the Holy Spirit in us, so when we have spiritual struggles and don’t even know what or how to go to God, the Spirit in us makes intercession for us, even without words. Words can get in the way sometimes. We can be still, and know that He is God.
The Apostle Paul’s words to the Philippian Christians are good for us today:
“Let your reasonableness (thoughtfulness, patience and consideration) be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand (near); do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer (talking with God) and supplication (making specific requests of God) with thanksgiving (a grateful heart for all He has done) let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses (exceeds) all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5–7).
When life doesn’t go as we planned or hoped, or our burdens seem too heavy, or nothing seems to make sense, it is through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we have hope. That’s a promise!
Photo (c) Ijubaphoto/iStock
This blog was published in honor of Nurses’ Week. Did you know that the LCMS has recognized parish nurses for over 30 years? A parish nurse is a licensed Registered Nurse who is committed to the concept of LCMS Health Ministry. He/she works with the members of the parish staff helping and enabling people of the congregation and the community attain, maintain and/or regain optimal health—body, mind, and spirit. Parish nursing is a unique blending of professional nursing and spiritual caregiving. Activities of a parish nurse are as varied as the individuals’ and congregation’s needs. These activities could include home/hospital/doctor visits, providing information about medications, health education for all ages, current topics in our community health, and newsletter articles. Whatever the activity, spiritual encouragement and care is at the heart of it. If you are a registered nurse, retired nurse, or a licensed practical nurse who would like to know more about parish nursing, please contact Christie Hansard, Mental Health Case Manager/Parish Nurse Ministries, at email@example.com or visit our website.