Gospel Medicine for GoutThursday, August 18, 2005
My bout with gout took a turn for the worse yesterday. The swelling increased so badly that it felt as if the skin on my foot would split open. The joint is a nice, shiny shade of purplish-red. It entered a new phase of hurt and pain yesterday unlike anything I'd ever felt before. In fact, I tried to describe it to my wife and I couldn't find the right combination of words or phrases or feelings. So I won't even try here. Let's just say the pain leaves me wincing and grimmacing and literally sweating at various intervals.
Last night was by far the worst yet. I'm blogging on sleep-fumes here. I'm praying for the common grace of Vitamin C with bioflavinoids, Vitamin B-Complex, and Aleve (seeing the commercial on T.V. just makes me plain mad...I'm not smiling and partying like those folks on the commercials! What's with this "All Day Strong, All Day Long" crap?!) to take their intended effect very soon.
There are two things I learned yesterday about gout.
First, don't eat at Backyard Burger when you have gout. I knew I wasn't supposed to do this. But when my good buddy and pastor-friend John Crotts (pastor of Faith Bible Church in Peachtree City, GA) suggested it for lunch, and given my diet of raw fruits and vegetables for the last two days, you can imagine my glee and delight as I considered the prospect of tasting meat for the first time in three days!
An angus burger, seasoned fries, sweet tea, and blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream was all just too good to pass up. Problem is, that's kind of what caused the gout in the first place: too many foods with purinic acid, such as meats, saturated fats, sugar, etc. You know...all the good stuff! So lesson one, if you have gout, don't eat at Backyard Burger, even if your good buddy invites you! (By the way, I had a great time yesterday John!)
Second, meditate on Romans 8:18-25. It's gospel-medicine for gout, and really for any sickness. My mind clung to it between dreams last night. The gospel teaches me that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing [especially my big left toe right now] for the revealing of the sons of God."
Because of sin, my foot was subjected to futility, not willingly mind you, as the text says. But God subjected my foot to futility, along with all of creation, for one purpose: "in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay [and gout] and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God." This hope is created in us when we experience pain because, "we know that the whole creation has been groaning [heard most loudly in my life by my foot!] together in the pains of childbirth until now." Meditate on that prepositional phrase. It's a beauty.
What that means is that since the cross, the redemption of our bodies draweth nigh (v. 23)! How do we know? Because that hope I just mentioned, that Paul actually mentions, is the hope in which we were saved (v. 24). That is, part of the reason we were saved is for the redemption of our bodies as well as our souls. That means God cares as much about my gout as my soul! And the gospel applies to both, for just as it has saved the one, it will save the other. It can no more fail to save my foot, and my whole body for that matter, than it can fail to save my soul!
Now that's better medicine than any pill can give. It doens't take away the pain. Instead it uses the pain to create fresh hope in my heart for what God has promised to do with my body. That is why we must, "wait for it with patience" (v. 25). Now, come back and talk to me in three more days with this kind of pain and let's see if I still feel this way!