What Is Health for?

Hi everyone,

I’m Calvin. This post is supposed to be an introduction of sorts, so I’ll start with some stuff about me. I’m tall, I’m half-indian, I’m awful at dancing, I’m a recovering premed, I’m a southerner at heart, and I’m currently siting at my kitchen table eating carrots. Basically, I’m a lot of stuff. The most important thing about me, though, is that I’m trying to follow Jesus, even if I’m pretty bad at it.

But for a more serious introduction, I’m the 4th of 5 kids in a family of all homeschooled children. I graduated from Princeton in 2015 with a degree in Classics, and I now live in inner city Chicago, working at a low-income health center (the same one Daniel used to work at.) I’m also trying to go to medical school.

I love the places where faith and medicine interact. As I’ve spent 4 years preparing for med school, I’ve seen more and more ways that medicine is broken. As I’ve grown in my faith though, I’ve seen so many ways in which Christ is the perfect answer to that brokenness. There are other times when I get frustrated because I don’t see how the problems can be fixed. But then I remember that Jesus is returning and that we’ll eventually have a neverending party with the king of all glory. That makes me feel a lot better. There are a couple other topics you may hear me write about: poverty, education, mental health, and sexual assault are all things I care deeply about.

One of the main reasons I’m writing for this blog is that I love to ask why. I want to know why we do things a certain way, why we say what we say, and especially, why we want what we want.

In fact, while I’m sitting here at my kitchen table, writing this blog post and eating my baby carrots, I have a sinus infection. I find that pretty annoying. My ears have a constant crackling noise like someone is unwrapping a twinkie right next to them, my head feels like someone is blowing up a balloon inside it, and my teeth feel like someone is beating them from behind with one of those carrots. As I’m sure you understand, I want to get better. I want to be healthy!

But, because I can’t stop myself from asking questions, a little voice in the back of my head says to me “Why do you want to be healthy? What is health even for?” Shoot. That one made me think. But I have what I think is a pretty good answer: I want to be healthy because then I don’t have to experience this pain and discomfort which kind of sucks.

Then God puts a passage of scripture in my mind to remind me of my own selfishness.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Romans 5:3-4

God tells me to rejoice in my suffering, not to lie here moaning about my pain and wishing it would end. God may use my suffering to build my character. Maybe he’ll use my illness to bring me in contact with a doctor who could be opened to Christ by my love for faith and medicine. Who knows? But here I am, shortsightedly wishing that my teeth didn’t hurt.

All the more, while God may use my suffering for good, I’m not sitting here thinking of how I could use my health for him. I’m not sitting here saying “God make me better so that I can serve you better.” I’m allowing health to become and end, rather than God himself. That my friends, is called the idolatry of health. It’s so easy to fall into, as my overly-pressurized sinus passages will attest to.

In any case, I hope this post made you think a little bit, laugh a little bit, or better yet ask God how he can use your health or lack of health.

One thought on “What Is Health for?”

  1. Thanks for that, Calvin! I have recently experienced lots of struggles (minor and slightly more serious) with health as I’ve moved to Korea and been bombarded with packed training and teaching schedules, and have often resented that my own body doesn’t seem to be cooperating with my desire to serve the Lord through teaching at my full potential (or as I imagined it). However, this lack of health has been helping me to learn a few things that I wouldn’t have otherwise: how to empathize with others who are ill, how to maximize student talking time so that I am not forever straining my voice lecturing them, and how to gratefully accept care from my host family and co-teachers at school rather than always having to put up a strong front. God certainly works in unexpected ways. Thank you for bringing the positive side of my lack of health to light through your post. 🙂

join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s