If you’re reading this, you likely already know that I have that strange, politically-incorrect illness known as chronic Lyme disease. I have repeatedly heard about a documentary called Under Our Skin, but have only just today actually watched it. (I have an odd aversion to watching video clips and such-like, especially online. I guess I just haven’t ever made a habit of it.) The entire way through, I nearly cried – one reason being that, except for the intervening grace of God, at one time not too long ago I was well on my rapid way to some of the severer symptoms manifested by some of the people in this film. Even so, there have been times when it has been difficult for me to say that “I have Lyme disease,” because I well know that so many have it so much worse than I have had it and many have even died as a result. It has been a painful thing to see what I myself have had to face – and it stirs up much compassion to think upon those many who have equal and often worse things overcoming them from the same, nearly-mysterious root cause that is the borrelia spirochete.
Sometimes, in researching it, I am quite fascinated by my findings – other times frightened – other times disgusted – and other times just plain sorrowful on account of the terrible consequences it has caused in so many lives. Sometimes it is just too overwhelming and I take a break from thinking about it for a while. That’s what I’ve been doing recently. Until today.
One researcher mentioned in Under Our Skin said that he found borrelia spirochete and the person’s genetic material in the same molecule. Or something like that. Which very much sounds to me that “Lyme” actually, physiologically, becomes a part of one’s body (which makes a lot of sense if the spirochete is actually formed from a spiroplasma…but that is another topic…). No wonder the body’s immune system ceases destruction of the invading parasites when Lyme disease has become a chronic systemic infection!
Anyways, all this reminded me of how sin pervades our very beings. Even when we are born again by the Holy Spirit of Christ, sin yet remains within us. He gives us a knowledge of this and a new heart and new desires – but he does not immediately remove all our sinful will from us. Instead, he ushers us into progressive sanctification, that warfare to overcome our own will-to-power with the strength that comes from God and out of dependence on him and his word of truth. I think that the apostle’s description in Romans 7 of how he, as a regenerate son of God, still had to wage war with the sin remaining in him is well-illustrated by the destructive spirochetes invasion of our bodies’ very substance:
“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me…So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” ~Romans 7:15, 21-25
Also, I can’t help but remember this passage from the Pentateuch when I think about Lyme disease and how prevalent it is in the Western nations – and how it is growing because this fatal and very destructive disease is a politically incorrect illness – meaning that the U.S. health care system, in general, refuses treatment for it, redefining it as some sort of psychosomatic occurrence or classifying it under some other unhelpful label. I am so thankful that I, unlike so many others, didn’t have to go through scores of doctors and scads of diagnoses in order to begin to get treatment for the root problem! But here is the passage I was thinking of earlier today – Exodus 28 is a chapter that, as God’s people, we ought to be familiar with, but it is verses 58-61 in particular that were ringing through my mind by the end of Under Our Skin:
“If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the LORD your God, then the LORD will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sickness grievous and lasting. And he will bring upon you again all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. Every sickness also and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law, the LORD will bring upon you, until you are destroyed.”
Yes, the Word of God stands – to and for every generation.
But this post isn’t explicitly about covenant theology, theonomy, or judgment – it’s just a few of my thoughts about Lyme, spirochetes, and reality….
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” ~1 Corinthians 15:58