A Reflection on Disease
Imagine going back in time to your great grandparents and you are having a conversation with them. They ask you to tell them about your modern time. And you start by telling them how technology has been of benefit to man. You tell them technology has come to our aid in commercial agriculture such that there is more than enough food for everybody on the planet. Mobile phones make communication with almost anybody around the globe. With blessed apps androids phones has taken the communication to a higher level because people can have video calls. Thanks to the internet which by itself revolutionized how people live their lives. There are more specialized hospital, more qualified medical practitioners, more drugs for diseases, more nutritional supplements. “Life is good,” you say.
Your great grandparents who can only imagine all that you have been talking about ask you, “What about challenges? What are the challenges you people in your time have.” You sigh. And you tell them that there is a widening gap between the rich and the poor, you now have money that is not backed by gold or anything, there is terrorism, and there are diseases people are dying from on a daily basis. “Tell us about the diseases,” your great grandparents say.
You do not know where to start. You simply say, “There are a host of them: dementia, celiac disease, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, and others.” “I am not sure we experienced any of those. We do not even know the diseases.” You ask, “What do people usually die from in your time?” “Old age,” they reply.
Since the mid-twentieth century, we have had to attribute someone’s immediate cause of death to a single disease rather than old age. A particular disease sets in and goes on to become chronic, degenerating the health of the sufferer and involving multiple complications and symptoms which accumulate over time. In fact, the old today are usually not dying of a specific ailment. In terms of health, something has changed between our time and the time of our great parents.
Are we even interested in knowing what it is or those things that have changed? Or have we become too passive when it comes to diseases? Have we accepted that it is normal for old people to die of diseases? Have we become fatalistic in our thinking when it comes to sickness? Are we sure we are right to attribute an illness to the will of God? Is there a possibility that we can go through life without migraines, allergies, diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, and a host of other diseases? Could it be that we are refusing to take responsibility or even acknowledge the possibility that we may be bringing these illnesses on ourselves?
One thing that I know for certain that has changed between our time and the time of our grandparents is diet.
“My people perish for want of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).