Surprised by Hard Times

Dear Reader,

Sometimes I wonder why we are so surprised by hard times, especially illness and death. Part of it I suppose is just the “not me” mentality that always expects these things to happen to other people. I have blogged before on how my daughter’s diagnosis with type 1 diabetes affected us. It was somewhat like a personal 9/11 for our family. It didn’t make us vulnerable but it showed us how vulnerable we are. We no longer think “that can’t happen to us.”

I wonder if I have a bit of my father in me. When I had my first child, the first  grandchild for my parents (and I am the youngest of 4 kids so they had been waiting a loong time for grandkids), I of course called to tell my mom I had had the baby. She also of course got quite excited. My dad’s response? “Well, you knew she was going to have a baby, right? It’s about time.”

We all know we are going to die someday. It is reasonable to expect that someone close to us will be seriously ill. The older we get, the more this happens. So why is it so shocking? Part of it I think is that we are blessed to live in a time with great medical care. Now I know there is still a lot we can’t cure or prevent (like my daughter’s disease for instance; insulin is a treatment, not a cure). But there is a lot we can control that we couldn’t on past generations. Life spans are longer. And for children in particular the outlook is much better. I am always amazed when we read through American history how many children were lost. It was just normal to have a third or more of your kids die. I am sure the grief must be the same but maybe there was less surprise involved? I don’t know. I’m glad I don’t know actually. We can only speculate.

Though things are a lot better than they once were, death and illness still overtake us all. Some diseases are wiped out. Some are curable that once weren’t. But there is always somethign new, isn’t there? New flus. New drug-resistant bacteria. Always something new to worry us.  And it shouldn’t surprise us. We are still under the curse of Genesis 3. The circumstances may change but the results of Adam and Eve’s sin are still with us.

I wouldn’t trade when I am living for an earlier time. I love medical advances. I love insulin. 90 years ago my dd would have died from her illness. Now she has to live with it but at least she can live. I wonder though if all these advances, the removal of death and serious illness from our day-to-day lives and the expectation that we should be able to cure things has also removed us from our Creator. When we don’t have to think about our own weakness so often, we forget that we are weak and in need of salvation. We think we can do things ourselves. Maybe we think that science and medicine can save us. But in the end death overtakes us all. There is no medical cure for that yet. So instead of living our whole lives aware of physical infirmities, we are surprised by them later on. Hopefully, it is not too late.

Nebby

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