Red Deer Advocate, November 9th, 2011. Michael J. Fox has empowered himself, he says. By this self-power, supposedly, his Parkinson’s disease ‘appears to have plateaued.’ Now there is a measure of truth to this positive assertion. “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity” (Proverbs 18.14.) The spirit of a man will bear much affliction, and carry it too. A positive attitude will compel the sick man to go farther than a wounded spirit is able to get to.
Not to pit Solomon against Job, but here is a more ominous truth: “One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet” (Job 21.23.) Instead of bragging about this little, temporary strength that he has been able to dig up from his own depths, Mr. Fox ought to be giving glory to the God who has granted his spirit the strength to get this far. Christopher Reeve (Superman) got ridiculously optimistic on account of being able to move his finger that time. Now Mr. Fox has gotten silly by his own flicker of hope. ‘I don’t have time to get worse,’ he tells us. This is not the movies, Mr. Fox, like when Jesse Ventura didn’t ‘have time to bleed.’
Besides the fact that God has, in his patience, extended mercy for a time, why has Mr. Fox’s spirit sustained his infirmity? Has it not largely been because of circumstance? Many other sick folks have not been able to get their wealth up to supply luxurious comforts. Their little fame does not draw broad sympathy. They have no supportive partner to ease daily depressions. This is why ‘you have to empower yourself’ is such an insensitive message. It is an easy thing to say when your own disease has slowed down and when your support systems are all up and running.
Where do insensitive remarks like that come from? I mean, from what sins do they arise? They arise from ignorance and pride. A man humbled by the truth of God would not boast of empowering himself. Much less would he advise others to do it! Proverbs 18.14 is a fact, not a piece of advice meant to be relied upon. Is it not true that any man may die in his full strength? This happens daily. Yes, for the Bible speaks truly. Empower yourself! How insensitive to say so! Take this instead: Be wary of your strength, be it ever so little or much! There is a message, and not for all sick persons only, but for every healthy person too. Make the LORD God your strength and salvation (Psalm 18.2.) There is the best advice.
“Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness” (Jeremiah 13.16.) If you are sick of trying to empower yourself to no good purpose, confess your sins (like wanting to sacrifice embryonic stem cell life in order to save your own skin) and cast your weakness, and especially your little strength, upon God through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Saviour sent from heaven to save sinners from terrors beyond the grave. “Repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1.15.)