Did you know that there are several accounts from the 1500’s that describe smallpox inoculation as practiced in China and India? Then in the late 1600’s, we hear of Emperor K’ang Hsi, who had survived smallpox as a child, having his children inoculated. The method involved grinding up smallpox scabs and blowing the matter into the nostril. Inoculation may also have been practiced by scratching matter from a smallpox sore into the skin. It is difficult to pinpoint when the practice began, but some sources claim it may have been as early 200 BC!
The Bible speaks of medicines as well. In Ezekiel, the prophet talks about fruit trees whose fruit are good for food, “…and the leaves for healing” (Ezekiel 47:12). The prophet Isaiah instructed King Hezekiah’s servants to treat him by “[Making] an ointment from figs and spread it over the boil, and Hezekiah will recover” (Isaiah 38:21). Paul even tells his protégé Timothy, “Don’t drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often” (1 Timothy 5:23).
I mention this because I went to get my Covid vaccine yesterday. I am amazed at the advances in medicine we have made over history. In the 21st century, things like knee replacement, hip replacement, heart bypass surgery, are commonplace today. Now there are always risks to surgery, but many complex medical procedures have almost become routine. My son recently had detached retinas in both eyes reattached. In the doctor’s office not a hospital and it only took about ten minutes for each eye – a week apart. Similarly, our Treasurer had cataract laser procedures done on both his eyes on two successive Mondays. We have had penicillin to fight infections since 1928. Today there are a range of antibiotics that are truly lifesavers. AIDS is no longer a death sentence. Polio was eradicated with a vaccine in 1952, as were measles, mumps and rubella. We have a vaccine today for shingles, the flu, pneumonia, and three now for Covid-19.
All of these medical advances were made possible by men and women who used their God-given gifts and talents to develop procedures, technology, therapeutics, and a wide range of medications.
Yes, God is a worker of miracles, but do not think miracles are always as dramatic as parting the Red Sea or walking on water. Sometimes God works miraculously by feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread the two fish, and sometimes He works through the leaves of a fruit tree or an ointment of figs. Even Jesus made a poultice to heal. When He encountered a blind man, the Bible says, “…he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes” (John 9:6). After the man washed it off, he could see!
The fact that diseases like polio, malaria, or leprosy are relatively non-existent in 21st century is a testimony to the power and blessings of God.
Please do not fear. I encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as you can. Remember to thank the medical professionals who take care of you, and God for all He continues to do for His children in this fallen world.
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