Nov 1, 2016

Our Hope is Not in Health

By Laura Vandercook

I am familiar with sickness. My first child struggled with asthma that left her sick almost all the time for the first five years of her life. Thankfully, after that we went through a three year period of relatively good health. After a recent move, however, the whole household has been sick for over a month. It has been exhausting. In talking with a friend about how we were struggling with our transition due to both these health issues and all the little things that needed to be done in our new house, she said, “If only you had your health.” She is right that when a family is healthy, it is one less obstacle to deal with as you live out your vocations towards your neighbors, but there is something about this that got me to thinking.

You see, I grew up in a family that dealt with chronic illness. By the time I reached 30, every single member of my childhood household (my parents and siblings) had dealt with one major health issue or another, be it hospitalization due to complications from medication, complications from a surgery, stress-related heart issues, or complications during pregnancy. We understood what it was like to hear from a doctor that he wasn't sure we would make it through the week.

This makes one think about health and its importance. Is having your health important? Sure it is! But it isn’t everything. No matter if these issues took place when I lived at home as a child or after I had moved out, I know that what does matter most is being taken care of because our hope does not rest in our health.

My parents and my siblings go to good churches with faithful pastors. I know that just as I am being told every Sunday that I am a sinner whose sins have been forgiven by Christ crucified, so also my family is hearing this. That is what matters. This world does not promise good health to me or to anyone, but God promises to me forgiveness of sins and life everlasting through His Son.

As I hear my children cough from their rooms and my husband listens to me wheeze all night, it is tempting to think that if we could just get well, life would be better. Yet we live in a fallen world and sin is all around us. Throughout our lives we will continue to face one adversity or another. We will probably all get well in my household, but, if we don’t, if we are one of those families that will deal with chronic illness for the rest of our lives, we know that our hope is not in our health. Our hope is in Christ crucified for our sins. Praise be to God!


Laura and her husband David have three kids, Allyssa, David, Jr., and Kaytlin. Laura enjoys talking about classical education and theology with her friends over freshly baked cookies.

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