I was raised, as previously written here, in West Virginia. June 20, 1863. This was the day West Virginia became a State. What was once considered western Virginia split and became this new State. This rift occurred because, while some did, the overwhelming majority of the populace did not condone slavery. The State Constitution banned the practice. Yet, a visitor to WV today may not realize this fact. That’s because many residents proudly display the Confederate flag on everything from shirts to truck decals. “Heritage, not hate,” is a common phrase here (also emblazoned on a plethora of personal effects).
The wake of Charlottesville has left me pondering my own past. I realized I’ve used this same logic for marijuana before (bear with me as I meld healthcare and race into one post since they are the topics dominating the news as of late…I promise to bring it full circle). For years as a young adult, (18+) I voiced support for medical marijuana. My reasoning was, despite my previous denial, this would lead to full legalization. Now, to be clear, I do actually believe marijuana should be studied and possibly used within medical environments to ease pain, suffering, and unlock other (if any) benefits for patients; particularly, those who are terminally ill. However, we use Cocaine and Morphine in this way, but no doctor in their right mind would say, “Let me send you home with ten grams of Cocaine or 200 CCs of Morphine. Why? Control is the game. Pain control, dose control, and damage control. Home use makes these variables wildly fluctuate. This leads to reduced effectiveness, at best, and fatality in the worst case secenario.
As Christians, it is not wrong for us to seek the easement of suffering related to illness, in fact, doing so is following after our Lord, who healed many illnesses from Leprosy and Epilepsy to blindness and paralysis. Yet, we must remember 2 Corinthians 12:9-11, which says, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
This doesn’t mean we are to leave people to suffer, writhing in agony; but, as Christian patients, ought consider whether numbing ourselves out with powerful narcotics and the like (for me, it was Marijuana) is having an impact on our ability to connect others to Christ. Our suffering helps underscore the power of Jesus, and best of all, He has promised an end to all suffering for those who love Him.
Furthermore, Genesis 11 speaks about the Tower of Babel. This is the reason we have different skin colors, hair types, accents, etc. al. God created one race. The human race. We are all loved and precious to Him.
While America continues to debate these issues (healthcare and race), let those of its citizens who call ourselves Christians remember to lean on and be like the Great Physician and Prince of Peace. He ended all debating nearly 2,000 years ago. Pain, suffering, and death will not endure. They will lose. Remember that as you see Neo-Nazis march the streets of America. Hold on to Jesus. Hold on to hope, not hate.
“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 25:8