If our lives were "sanitized" to the point where no trouble ever appeared, why would we need Jesus?
Are germs good or bad for you?
Laughable question to my mother in 1960. Once we entered the house from anywhere else, we heard the command barked, “Wash your store hands.” “Wash your playground hands.” Anything we might have touched outside the house must have contaminated us. “Wash your school hands.”
All that hand-washing by millions of children must have worked. The relatively sanitary world in which we live has made cholera and dysentery rare. But in a Newsweek article, Jerry Adler and Jeneen Interlandi argue that too few bacteria in our lives (and in our digestive systems) is bad, too.
“In terms of infectious disease, the environment of the American suburb is unquestionably a far healthier place than most of the rest of the world. But we've made a Faustian bargain with our antibiotics, because most researchers now believe that our supersanitized world exacts a unique price in allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases, most of which were unknown to our ancestors.”
In plain talk, our bodies are hosts to billions of microbes, many of which actually aid the digestive process and assist the immune system. The more we use drugs to kill germs perceived to be bad, the more drug-resistant they become, and thus the more deadly. A new paper in The Journal of the American Medical Association reports on the prevalence of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which was responsible for almost 19,000 deaths in the United States in 2005—about twice as many as previously thought, and more than AIDS.
Is it possible that this is a model of how God keeps us spiritually healthy? Is it possible that God allows us to struggle, to fail sometimes, to be hurt….for the very same reasons? If our lives were “sanitized” to the point where no trouble ever appeared, why would we need him? Wouldn’t we assume that our stress-free life was all our own doing?
Like my mom, I will keep asking my kids to wash up when they come into the house. But I won’t mind if they’re playing in dirt all morning. I will also choose to trust God if He lets hardships come into our lives. They will drive us in humility to the cross for forgiveness, to our baptisms for certainty of our adoption into His family, to the Word for understanding, and to prayer for strength.