The predator usually kills with no warning. First, it seeks to find the weak or unprotected points of entry. Then it attacks. The victim is often dead before it comprehends what just happened. I watch a lot of National Geographic.
Satan uses these tactics, prowling around, seeking whom he may devour, looking for our weak spots. Evil is far craftier than we are, so we’re usually caught off guard. We blunder along, making costly mistakes. We resist productive actions that can result in great personal or professional progress, only to regret it later. All the while, we have no idea we’re under attack.
Why, therefore, in this fallen world would it be any different when our own bodies and souls attack us? Our weak spots take us down. Often we are our own worst enemies.
With autoimmune disease we are both predator and prey. Our immune systems attack our own bodies at a cellular level, damaging the entire body. More than one hundred autoimmune diseases exist, yet each manifestation is unique, for no two people have identical bodies. Each one’s immune system attacks the weaknesses that have built up over time, entirely unique to that person.
For example, I have an autoimmune connective tissue disease. My body attacks my own connective tissues in the places that have been most damaged by the wear and tear of my life:
- The spinal areas impacted by the scoliosis diagnosed too late.
- The lungs damaged by childhood disease and GERD.
- The back and leg injuries from a fall and two car accidents in 2011.
- The parts of my body impacted by my poor posture since I began writing in 2004.
Of course, there’s a spiritual lesson here.
Our areas of strength make us stronger still for future challenges. Our areas of weakness can be the cause of our greatest failures later on. If we’re prone to quit, it grows easier and easier. If we’re prone to persevere, it is easier to do so in the future.
What is the takeaway here?
Be aware of weaknesses, both physical and spiritual. Watch for the weak spots! Reinforce there both physically and spiritually.
Do all you can to strive for robust health in both areas, all while recognizing that none of us will ever achieve perfection. For all our striving, we will still have physical and spiritual weaknesses and our bodies will one day die.
Vigilance in our self assessment of both spiritual and physical weakness will give us plenty to do for the rest of our lives, yet, simultaneously, it could produce self absorption.
So what do we do?
We humbly accept the fact that we will never be perfect. We will often continue to trip over lifelong habits of negativity, slothfulness, gluttony, or discouragement. Simultaneously, our bodies will tend to fall apart in often predictable ways, based upon our previous care or abuse of our health.
Yet, and this is a big yet, God loves us just the same.
The Son of God did not come to die so that we could beat up ourselves over our spiritual and physical challenges. He came to be one of us to redeem us from our sins, to possess us for himself, to help us through this life, and to have us with him forever, no matter how slow our progress in growth and rehabilitation.
And one day, he will make us new. It’s good news!