God sends rain on the evil and on the just (Matthew 5:45). He blesses all with air to breath and opportunity to live. His Holy Spirit works for the persuasion of all humans, and Jesus died for all people. Heaven's goal is to help us, redeem us, save us, give life. Humans may forget God, but God does not forget humans. His love is sent out in search of us.
Someone once said, "I love you, let me count the ways." Enumerating the ways someone loves someone might sound fanciful. But sometimes such lists can help us. We forget. We need to hear things from the list.
One of the ways that God loves us, is to give us what we need to navigate a damaged earth. Most people are not clear-minded about God. Most people on the planet are engaged in attempts to build their own mighty sand castles even though the tide is roaring in, ready to engulf and collapse them.
Insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting the outcome to be different. There must be a lot of insane people.
One of the ways that God loves us very particularly, is via the special equipment, the special understanding and helps God gives His church. Our lives seem to be always moving very speedily, and we can begin to neglect even these special gifts of love.
Does anyone remember this acronym? NEWSTART. Come on. You know the list. It's a way to encapsulate what we usually call "the health message":
- Fresh air
- Trust in God
There is a lot of common sense here. Of course we need these things. But over the past several months, if we are honest with ourselves, we've been doing many things exactly opposite NEWSTART: staying inside, not exercising, missing out on sunlight, staying up all hours damaging our rest cycle, and so on. If the "health message" is such an integral part of our lives because our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we care for it right because it is Jesus' property, you would think we would have a more hopeful reaction to the current societal crisis. But we have largely reacted like most others, standing in line, waiting for the experts to come up with new medicine.
Germ Theory versus Terrain Theory
You may not know there are two contrasting theories of disease. One is the germ theory. Disease is caused by microscopic things we cannot see. It is like a lottery; you can do little about it. The solution is cut and paste medicine.
Pharmaceuticals create the right pills, you put green dollars into their hand, they give you the pills, you are cured, until you get sick again and the cycle starts over.
There is some truth in this. Yes, there are microscopic viruses and bacteria, and many of them are pathogenic--disease causing. However, there is another theory, called the terrain theory. Terrain theory says that disease wants the right environment to thrive. Terrain theory says, take care of your body, take care of your health, and disease will be much less likely to even begin to take hold.
Germ theory makes big pharma wads and wads of dollars; terrain theory is prevention, it means taking personal responsibility, it is empowering, and doesn't make very much money for the giant medical corporations. But isn't it interesting how terrain theory matches up so well with NEWSTART, and germ theory, not so much? I see NEWSTART as a divine gift to us, and one especially well suited for this time of new health threats.
A System Designed by God
I said we would look at God's forgotten gift. Let's do that now.
Psalm 139:14 says, "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." I want to review with you the second largest system in your body. It has its own organs, the thymus and the spleen, and it has a whole plumbing system including 500-600 nodes. I'm taking about something that comes to us from the beginning, from the creation. God is never surprised. He knows the future; He plans ahead. He builds into our bodies the help we need. In a sinless, perfect world, God made Adam and Eve. He gave them hearts, lungs, brains, bones and muscles and skin, taste, sight, smell, touch, hearing, and He gave to us what we call the immune system. There are two main parts to our immune system. We've all heard of white blood cells, but the system is very detailed. We will better understand the wisdom of God if we zoom in for a closer view.
First of all, everything begins in the bone marrow. All the cells found in the blood begin there, in the center of your largest bones. Some become red cells, some white. Some are T cells, some B cells.
The thymus is located near the heart, and it is where we get the name T cell. T-cell comes from the word "thymus." T cells begin in the marrow and travel to the thymus while not fully mature. Within the thymus there is an intense process that results in the destruction of 90% of these cells. But those that survive go on to become soldiers in a vast internal bodily army.
It is in the thymus that T cells learn what is self and what is not. Things that are part of self they do not attack, and things that are considered not part of self, they attack mercilessly.
T cells produce inflammation. They also help the B cells.
B cells come to maturity while in the bone marrow, and work their way over to another organ which is part of your immune system, the spleen, which is located next to your stomach. The spleen recycles iron from blood cells and also acts similarly to the 500-600 lymph nodes located all over your body. In every lymph node you have B cells in the outer part and T cells in the inner part.
Blood and lymph fluid pass through these structures, and the things they find are transported there to undergo a careful inspection. You also have another special kind of cell called the dendritic cell which spends its time scavenging around in the body and when it finds something it brings it to the lymph node.
Everything that lands in the lymph nodes is closely investigated. If it looks like self, it is permitted to remain, but if it is an intruding virus or bacteria, a series of alarms are set off and an immune response is triggered. The whole body goes to a higher DefCon. T cells and B cells are activated. What does that mean?
B cells that are activated begin to make and secrete a protein called antibody. Meanwhile, the T cells go on patrol throughout the body looking for the site where the problem is. When they find it, they attack.
Billions of new B cells are manufactured in your bones every day. B cells produce antibodies, and program themselves to produce certain kinds of antibodies. B cells are part of our adaptive immunity system. If they come into contact with the right stuff, they will begin to manufacture and pour antigens into your system and attack the disturbance. This system is able to constantly adapt and change to address threats by each new bacteria or virus that enters the bodily system.
We should at least touch on some of the different kinds of white blood cells. For example, the CD4 is called a helper cell. It has a lot to do with triggering alarms so that the right cells are produced to fight disease. A CD8 cell is a killer cell. Killer cells especially protect us against viruses.
Bacteria are themselves cells, but viruses are more like DNA segments in a thin plastic wrapper. Viruses are not alive, so you can’t kill them. The way a virus works is to invade another living cell and use its resources to reproduce itself. When your white killer cells come round' they look over the invaded cell carefully, recognize that the cell has been modified, and attack it.
CD4 and CD8 cells constantly go over the surface of dendritic cells looking for anything that needs to be destroyed.
Another kind of cell God created in humans is the macrophage. The name means "big eater." These are giant white cells that gobble up toxins they find and then destroy them with their own broth of poisons and digestive enzymes.
NK cells are "natural killer" cells. These cells do not need to be activated, they exist in the body already armed and ready to be triggered. If they encounter a cell kind they have never seen before, they are ready to attack it instantly.
There are a series of diseases called autoimmune disorders. These are cases where something goes wrong with the immune system so that the body begins attacking itself. When this happens, the T cells become unable to differentiate what is self from what is not self, and the immune system, which is so potent, begins to work against itself.
Some of us really have immune system problems. For example, many who have taken certain kinds of cancer treatments have significantly weakened immune systems.
It is also true that there is an extensive medical industry which can reap enormous profits by having consumers think they need their services. There is so much money involved that I would be very careful to receive multiple careful diagnoses from multiple highly competent physicians before becoming completely sure of the true situation of my own alleged medical problems. I'm not denying anyone has a problem; I'm only suggesting that a lot is at stake and we would be wise to be very careful about verifying medical problems doctors tell us we have. Two days ago I read about a brand new gland that had just been discovered in the neck. Medical science moves very rapidly, and even the most faithful physicians need continually to update and supplement their understanding with new findings.
Because we live in a world of sin, more and more things are going wrong in our world and even in our bodies. None of this means God doesn't love and care for us. How urgently He longs to end the experience of sin and suffering and heal this world. I don't think anything biological works as well in 2020 as it did in 1920. The vitality is going out of this world. It is waxing old and the return of Jesus is very close. Men are balding quicker, reproductive abilities are declining, some strains of bacteria are turning into superstrains where science has no cure. These are reminders that the earth is waxing old. People are forgetting God exactly when they need Him most.
Compromised Immune System or Other Damage
Most of us know someone with severe health impacts. We are living in the test-tube so to speak. We are subject to contaminants, accidents, health crises incurred in childhood, or other impacts which may have come to us from factors outside our control. It is easy to say, sorry, that is just how the cookie crumbles. But in fact we know that God is fair. He will give us grace if we live a lengthened life in comparison to the average, or, if a shortened life in comparison to the average.
We cling to life, we always want more. Even king Hezekiah plead to have his life lengthened. God gave him his request, but they were not his best years. God wants us to learn to trust Him. As Christians, our perspective is much more than just this short probation of life we are granted. We must have eternity in view, and be willing to trust God, who can lengthen the years alotted us, or not. Like out liberty, we should seek to have it when we are able. We should seek to live longer, healthier lives. But we need also to remember that we live in a world damaged by sin.
Someone might be asking what about the bubble boy. David Vetter was born in Houston Texas in 1971 with SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disorder). People born with this hereditary deficiency have impaired working in both parts of their immune system. Vetter lived to 12 years old. He had to be in a sterile environment. He had an immune system, but it was very limited. There are occasions where a child is born with SCID or other diseases and soon dies. Jesus came to earth to take the curse for all men, and to end all the thorns and thistles and diseases that plague us because of sin. We should pray that Jesus will be able to return soon and end sin and suffering for all time.
I said our time was characterized by new health threats. As I see it, one of the greatest new health threats is government abuse of public health to impose draconian liberty-destroying policy on us, and to make wads of money for giant medical corporations. They promote fear and subserviance to state authority and experts, meanwhile, we forget God's gift of health insight and the extraordinary immune system He has designed into every person. It is sad when the cure presented is 100 times worse than the disease.
God has given us powerful insight via the health message. He loves us. He has not left us here in ignorance and without an extremely powerful defense system built into every body. Friends, while you are sleeping, the army God has built into your bodies is working to clear your bodies from disease. We need not fear as others who don't understand God's loving gift to us. We can take precautions for our health, but we should never forget that God has already armed your body with a deadly internal protective force working 24/7 to keep you well.
Seventh-day Adventists should respond to alleged disease threats with hope instead of fear, a well-informed and rational response, rather than hanging on the latest fear-provoking reports on the news. We don't take our marching orders from CNN or the White House; we take them from the King of the universe who has not left us at the end of time to wait for the development of a magic vaccine by godless scientists.
Jesus is coming soon. What are we doing to speed that day?
Fremont MI SDA 2020-10-24
Muskegon MI SDA 2020-10-24