The nature of vaccines is based on the theory (with good results I might add) that goodness can come from sickness. Diseases that could be life crippling are able to be fought off by the antibodies that the body begins to produce. This is accomplished by “infecting” patients with a small amount of a virus so that the body can develop antibodies to fight future similar disease. This is done with chicken pox and polio. This at times can cause some fever in infants and adults alike because they are being infected/vaccinated with the virus. The upside is great in that when coming in contact with the disease again the next time, the body has already adapted and adjusted by building up antibodies to fight against the disease. This is a common practice and it has resulted in many saved lives and a changed world for the better. We receive just enough of something bad in order to benefit us for the future good. Isn’t that amazing.
In thinking about the flip side of that, patients who have immune compromised bodies are unable to fight off infections that are common to all of us. Did you know that on the bottom of our shoes are commonly found 27 types of e.coli? The same type of bacteria that causes food poisoning and other disease? But because we have healthy antibodies developed to fight these off, we rarely even think about it. Some of us even may even walk with shoes in our homes. This is the reason why those with immune compromised bodies, are unable to battle off the many different types of bacteria found commonly everywhere we are.
Paul says this to the Corinthian Church-
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
In this Paul is speaking of how we empty the Gospel of its power. That if we begin to divide as the body of Christ over secondary things other than the Gospel, we begin to empty the Good News of its power. We take that power or influence as our own and we begin to see ourselves as wise. He goes on to say that nobody should consider them wise because the foolishness of God is wiser than the greatest wisdom of man. In the Gospel, the fact that Jesus, who was God, died for unholy and sinful people and then rose again, it is difficult for our natural minds and hearts to think of ourselves in that way. We are naturally selfish, and the gospel speaks directly against that. The unselfish God gave of Himself fully- unto death, while we fight for scraps off the masters table.
The Gospel can be emptied of itself of its power, and people can become inoculated against it by only hearing what we want to hear. The Corinthians loved the wisdom and power of God, but when Paul preaches to them the Jesus who was not only powerful enough to rise from the dead, he points them back to the humility of Jesus to die and sacrifice for those he loves, even when it was quite unpleasant. If we only hear bits and parts of the Gospel that we like, and shield ourselves from the aspects of sacrifice and difficulty, we empty the Gospel of its power to work in us as God may desire. A simpler way to say it is that we may have selective listening to the things of God. We must take the grace of God with gratefulness, but we must also see that the Gospel is not only a remedy for sin, but also what gives us power and courage so that we don’t need to fail. The Good News is not only meant for us to be saved once, but also meant to continue rooting out the sinful broken parts of our lives. And it is not only for sin and brokenness to be rooted out, but also for us to be made whole and empowered to live courageously and cheerfully.
God constantly pursues us and speaks to us. Are we listening? We are always on a journey somewhere, to someplace, to meet someone. Are we able to hear and listen but not turn away, but run towards God? Instead of running from these difficult areas, are we able to press in, confront them, and allow God, who is the wounded healer, to also dress our wounds, make us well, and then minister in kind to others?