Saturday, August 27, 2011

Diabetes and the Sermon on the Mount

I will not attempt a thorough analysis of the relationship between having a disease you must look after nearly 24 hours a day (and I know diabetes isn't the only one!), but will instead post random tidbits and my thoughts/complaints/laments about them.

One of the many dilemma I've yet to resolve concerning diabetes is the conflict between having to dedicate so much thought, time, and care to my own health vs. how I am meant to (in a perfect world) be selfless and eager to think of others first. My faith- nay, all faiths, I believe- would have me strive to think less of worldly things (think: my own wants, problems, etc.) and instead consider more how I might help others. I still am desirous of becoming more and more selfless, but (yes, in many ways this is nothing but an excuse) diabetes impedes that.

  1. Matthew 5:40-42 says that we should give to all those who ask of us and not seek retaliation ("Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you."). This I can do without bodily threat to some extent. However, hypothetically speaking, what if what someone requires of me is the food I had allotted to myself to stave off hypoglycemia? It's improbable, but it might one day happen... And if it did, I know that if my reaction were to squander the food from someone starving or desperately in need I would deserve no mercy.
  2. Matthew 6:19-24 is the oft quoted section of the bible which instructs us to "lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven", not on earth. This, as most (all?) Christians are taught, is done through charitable work, prayer, and by obeying God. We are not to worry so much about whether we have enough food, money, or water- those things, in the entire scheme of your eternal life, are unimportant- you should trust that God will provide for you, in this life or the next. Yet...In order to help ensure my wretched survival, I must by necessity store up insulin, syringes, test strips, ketone strips, cotton balls, alcohol, etc. This pursuit may very well hinder my storing up of imperishable things in heaven, for it is a selfish one (meaning it is concerned only with me and my continued survival). In my experience, selfish thoughts beget selfish thoughts which, in turn, beget selfish acts...
  3. Matthew 6:25-34 (a small section of this is posted on the side of my blog) speaks of how one should not be anxious for their needs because God will provide for us just as he does so for the birds of the field. Once again, to some extent, I can safely practice this and, indeed, should. God will provide for me life-giving things, including insulin and food, if that is His will. Yet insulin is not something that God would necessarily bring down from heaven to lay at my side (as food sometimes is- with little effort, food can be provided through either caring strangers, food pantries, wild bushes, etc.). Yes, God certainly could do that, or he could miraculously keep me alive without synthetic insulin for a time if He chose. But insulin, as I have it, is a man-made thing; it is fashioned after what God gave me but then took away. If civilization collapses, so do I, after a short time. I do need to decrease my anxiety due to diabetes, though.
After writing this, I realize I just need to trust. Trusting God for insulin seems different than trusting him for food or water, two natural things. Yet, in the end, for however long He will continue to provide it, it always comes from Him, right? Though a pharmacist dispenses mine to me, does He not really deliver it to me? To trust this wholly will take more faith than I have presently, I think.


Natalie said...

I'm going to be honest with you. Whatever the gospels say, they were written by men who didn't know anything about diabetes, and therefore could not say anything truthful about it. But Jesus himself, who was never anything but a faithful Jew, would have told you exactly what modern Jews would tell you: you have an obligation to take care of yourself first, because without taking care of yourself, you CERTAINLY can't take care of others. So stop the dithering -- it is only right and proper for you to save your own life, because if you die believing that "God will provide" then you are of no use to anyone. God and Jesus expect you to do what is right in THIS world -- the afterworld will take care of itself. If you want to do good, then allow yourself!!

Marvin said...

Your body breathes automatically because it's built to do that. If it didn't, you'd have to consciously think about breathing, as asthmatics do. Insulin is the same way. Your body would normally make it for you. Now it doesn't, and you must consciously watch it and infuse it when you need it. Same thing. Focus on being grateful you're still alive, and try to make your insulin-monitoring a habit like breathing, rather than agonizing about it. Pay it the little attention it requires, and no more. The rest of your attention should be on enjoying life and those around you. ;-)