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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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More than Just Chocolate…

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Once every year, billions of people around the world pause to remember the mystery of Easter. Most people love Easter: bunnies, chocolate, eggs, bonnets, lilies, flower crosses, and joyful singing. In the air, you can sense victory and resurrection and new life. No wonder that churches have many visitors on Easter Sunday.

For sixty-six years, the St. Simon’s NV family has been celebrating Easter.  I have always enjoyed Easter, especially for the chocolate.  Just like Christmas, Easter has its food connection and its spiritual connection.  Most people love to eat.  Easter family gatherings invariably involve lots of delicious food, especially those wonderful hot cross buns.

Good Friday is a traditional fast day where many choose not to eat in order to remember Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins.  Easter Sunday is a traditional feast day where families celebrate with delicious feasts.   Without Good Friday, Easter Sunday makes no sense.  Without Easter Sunday, Good Friday is just a terrible tragedy.  Good Friday shows that God can turn everything that is against us to our advantage. God transformed Good Friday (the most evil day in history) into Easter Sunday (the most beautiful day in history).

Many of us steer clear of Good Friday because it reminds us of death, of pain, and of our own personal mortality. Sometimes we may question: what on earth is Good about Good Friday? What’s so good about someone going through the worst suffering and most excruciating death ever imagined?  Good Friday seems too morbid, too deadly, too bloody.

Modern medical science is wonderful in the way that it can prolong life that would often otherwise be over.  But medicine can only postpone the inevitable facing all of us.  We are mortals here on earth.  In my mid-teen period, I lost sight of the power of Easter, and concluded that there was no life after death. Death was final, and that was the end of it.  Nothing was waiting for me but the grave.  What was it all about, I wondered?  Was life really worth the effort? I began to fear the power of death and the meaninglessness and emptiness of life. I even secretly wondered if life itself was worth living.

In the midst of my teenage self-doubt,  I still loved Easter, but I didn’t get it.  The flowers, the food, the fun and even Easter worship were enjoyable, but somehow I missed the message.  It is funny how you can celebrate something that you grow up with, and yet the real meaning can be missed.  When the penny finally dropped, when the light came on, it was like waking up from the dead.  I finally understood that Jesus solved the unsolvable death problem, and that by faith in him, the future is bright and unstoppable.

My prayer for those of you who love the Easter season is that you may realize that at the end of the day, love is stronger than death, and love has the final word.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-an article published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

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Ten Years Later at the Gym

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Researchers have found that 115 million North Americans made health resolutions on  January 1 – promising themselves to quit smoking, eat better, lose weight, or start a serious exercise program. But within 2 months, only about 63% were still keeping their number one New Year’s resolution.  When one checks a year later, health resolution ‘survivors’ are a greatly diminished remnant.

What is it that gives us the motivation to hang in there when we are seeking to become healthy?   I will now have ‘survived’ ten years of consistently going to the gym, at least two times a week.  I have often been tempted to give up and crawl back on my couch.

One of my best motivators has been my dear wife to whom I have been married for 33 years.  She went to the gym many years before I went and often gently encouraged me to come along with her.  My initial impression was that I felt sorry for people who went to weight rooms.  They seemed rather masochistic to me.  Why would they inflict so much pain upon themselves?  I also felt intimidated by the endless variety of equipment with different levers ‘going in a thousand different directions’.  My fear was that if I pressed the wrong lever in the wrong direction, I might end up at the physiotherapist for the next year!

One of my most fun activities now is to work out at the weight room with my wife.  Every time I see her there, I am filled with admiration that she is taking such good care of herself.  I am looking forward to enjoying with my dear wife a healthy, active future fostered by the very weight training that we are both doing right now.

A second motivation for lasting ten years at the gym has been the ‘personal trainer called pain.  Since my being ‘rear-ended’ in a November ’99 car accident, my neck and shoulder muscles have become very fine-tuned to reminding me when I need to work out.  As long as I exercise at least two times a week, my neck is relatively pain-free, my headaches are down by 90%, and my hips and back are remarkably stable.  As a result, my medical costs for physiotherapy and massage therapy are down by more than 80%!

But if I slack off and get too busy, I can feel the area of my former injury tightening up again.  The resulting pain and spasms once again will interfere with my work life, family life, and prayer life.  Chastened and reminded, I trundle back off to the gym, to my new friends who have been wondering what has happened to me.  My personal trainer ‘Pain’ can be a remarkable motivator if I will only listen to it and not just medicate it away.

A third motivator for lasting ten years at the gym has been the spiritual benefits.  Modern day life has all kinds of stresses built right into it.  I have found that the consistent discipline of weight training has deepened my sense of inner peace.  Not only has my pain level dropped; my worry level has dropped as well.  Working out actually helps me ‘let go and let God’.

The YMCA and YWCA were birthed out of the realization that all three parts of us need exercising body, mind, and spirit.  There is anonymity at the gym that lets one silently pray without any one else really noticing.  I have found that there is no better equipment than the stationary bike for truly integrating the merits of physical and spiritual fitness.  Over the last two years, the stationary bike and the Book of Common Prayer have become inseparable for me.

The term ‘exercise’ comes from the Greek word ‘gumnazo’ from which we derive the terms ‘gymnastics’ and ‘gym(nasium)’.  Exercise is helping me become more disciplined, a better disciple of my Lord Jesus Christ.  My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us may become more disciplined in our desires to be healthier in body, mind, and spirit.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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T.G.I.F.

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I vividly remember my father coming home from work on Fridays, and calling out ‘TGIF!!’  Often such announcements would be followed by our whole family going out to celebrate at Nat Bailey’s White Spot restaurant.  The White Spot, like A&W, used to be famous for its tradition of eating dinner in one’s car.  No self-respecting Vancouverite would dream of eating fish and chips anywhere else.

TGIF was also a pressure that I experienced as an older teenager: a pressure to make my Friday nights very exciting and sensational.  If I wasn’t experiencing an adrenaline rush on Friday night, I would feel guilty as if I had failed the invisible TGIF law of the universe.

More recently, I have discovered another meaning to TGIF. TGIF also means facing our fears, facing our anxieties, facing our grief.  Friday is a symbol of the ending of the week and also the ending of life.  Friday is both an ending and a new beginning, a dying and a potential rising.  Very few of us want to face our own personal mortality.  Yet our fears of dying are actually our fears of living.

TGIF also makes me think of the most important Friday in the year: Good Friday.  Thank God It’s (Good) Friday!  Many of us avoid Good Friday like the plague, because like a plague, Good Friday reminds us of death, of pain, and of our own personal mortality.  Sometimes we wonder: what in the world is Good about Good Friday?  What’s so good about someone going through the worst torture and most agonizing death ever invented?

Many of us are tempted to switch TGIF to TGIS: Thank God It’s Sunday (Easter Sunday in particular).  Everybody loves Easter: bunnies, chocolate, eggs, bonnets, lilies, flower crosses, and joyful singing.  Everybody loves victory and resurrection and new life.  No wonder every church is packed with visitors on Resurrection Sunday.  But very few of us love Good Friday.  Good Friday just seems too morbid, too deadly, too bloody.  It just seems too hard to say TGIF about Good Friday.

I remember as a boy when I first watched a movie about Good Friday.  I was struck by the hatred of the soldiers towards Jesus, the brutality that he endured, the whippings and the nails driven in his hands and feet.  It all seemed so unfair, so unnecessary.  What in the world was good about such a Good Friday?  I wanted to drag Jesus down from the cross and save him from his agony.  I knew that he had the power to call a legion of angels to save him.  Yet he didn’t.  I felt very disappointed in Jesus.  My other hero Superman always got away when the green Kryptonite was about to kill him.  But Jesus let me down and ‘wimped out’ by dying on me.  For years, Easter made no sense to me, because I thought it was about remembering a dead Jesus.  I had no idea that Jesus was alive and well, and just waiting to change my life.

As a teenager, I became convinced that there was no life after death, and that nothing awaited me but extinction and returning to dust.  I began to fear the power of death and the meaninglessness and emptiness of life.  I even began to secretly wonder if life itself was worth living.  TGIF began to lose its effect on me.

One day in Grade 12, I met some fellow students who seemed different: happier, more peaceful, more focused in their life.  They had a joy that seemed to bubble over.  I knew that whatever they had, I wanted it too.  So I asked them what made them ‘tick’.  They said with a smile that their secret was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  They told me that Jesus had broken the power of death on the Cross, that he had taken my sin and guilt on Good Friday, and rose to new life on Resurrection Sunday.  They told me that I could live forever if I would turn from my self-centeredness and let Jesus become the centre of my life.

I was hungry and curious.  So I ‘opened the door of my life’ and let Jesus come in.  It felt like rivers of liquid love filling me from the inside out.  I experienced joy in a whole new way.  I felt whole and peaceful in an unexpected way.  Most importantly, I lost my fear of death.  I knew that my life had meaning and purpose because of Jesus taking my place on Good Friday 2000 years ago.  TGIF!

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CND.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Queen Victoria and Sir James Simpson

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

As told in the delightful movie “Mrs. Brown”, Queen Victoria had a great love for the Scottish Balmoral Castle.  The Queen actually preferred Scotland to England.  As a result, everything Scottish suddenly became fashionable.  Tartans, reels, bagpipes and sporrans were considered cultured and refined where before they had been hidden away when friends from the South arrived.

Queen Victoria also had a preference for Scottish doctors, in particular Sir James Simpson of Edinburgh.  Her appointment of James Simpson as one of her Majesty’s Physicians was symptomatic of Victoria’s innovative leadership style.  Despite the prejudice many have today to all things ‘Victorian’, Queen Victoria helped open the doors for her people to modern science and medicine.  Even as a child, she led the way as the first member of the Royal Family to be vaccinated for smallpox.  Later as Victoria was to give birth to her fifth child, she turned to Sir James Simpson, the father of modern anesthetics, for help.

Until Queen Victoria’s bold move, there was a great controversy about the morality of whether women should use anesthetics in childbirth.  Her leadership broke people free from superstition and fear.  Her use of an anaesthetic was so controversial that the official Royal Press ‘The Lancet’ actually denied that she had accepted chloroform, but the lay press rushed to spread the news.

Dr. Petrie in Liverpool considered anesthesia a breach of medical ethics.  It was the act of a coward, he wrote, to avoid pain, and if a woman insisted on the use of chloroform to alleviate her labour pains, she must be told that she was in no fit state to make decisions.  ‘Are we going to allow the patient to tell us what to do?’ he enquired indignantly.

Sir James Simpson used careful statistics to overcome enormous prejudice among these medical colleagues.  Many of Simpson’s fellow doctors feared that chloroform would increase the already high death rate following operation, increase the incidence of bleeding, paralysis, & pneumonia, and bring on ‘mania’ in the mother.

There were also clergymen who argued that anesthetics was somehow against the Bible.  Simpson humorously responded that on the occasion of the first recorded operation –the removal of a rib – the Lord had caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, proof of his approval of anesthesia!  In defending anesthesia against clerical criticism, Simpson noted that some churchmen also first spoke against optical glasses, spectacles and the telescope as ‘offsprings of man’s wicked mind’, because they changed the natural appearance of things and presented them in an untrue light.  Simpson was so convinced of the rightness of anesthetics that he even called his study ‘St. Anesthesia’.

In the midst of this raging battle with the medical and ecclesiastical establishments, along came Queen Victoria who settled the controversy in one decisive act.  Throughout the British Empire, her loyal subjects agreed that the sensible Queen would have never taken chloroform from Dr. Simpson if it was really dangerous or against the will of the Lord.  The gift of anesthetic was Queen Victoria’s  present to millions of grateful mothers around the world.

The mothers of the mid-nineteenth century were looking for a doctor who would consider them seriously as people, and not as baggage.  James Simpson was a man of great compassion who could not bear to see women in pain.  As a young intern, Simpson ran out in horror during a cancer operation and almost switched to studying law.  ‘Can nothing be done’; he pleaded, ‘to make operations less painful?’  James Simpson was a man who respected women of all classes and considered it their due to receive the best medical attention that there was to offer.  Simpson didn’t just treat the Queen as an individual; he treated all women as ‘queens’.  Simpson, as a man of deep faith, knew that in Christ there was neither slave nor free, male nor female, for all are one and equally valued in the Lord (Galatians 3:28).

In 1870 a contemporary of Simpson wrote, “Simpson adopted obstetrics when it was the lowest and most ignoble of our medical arts: he has left it a science numbering amongst its professors many of the most distinguished of our modern physicians.’  The average physician of the early Victorian age was armed with a jar of sticky black leeches and an obsession for putting them to work.  With the discovery of chloroform, Simpson held that ‘a new light had burst upon Surgery, and a large boon conferred on mankind.’

Simpson was a natural inventor who was always eager to experiment in new directions –the fight against puerperal fever, the invention of new types of forceps, the combating of cholera, and the invention of the vacuum suction extractor to help with childbirth problems.  And he invented the uterine sound instrument by accident by dropping a straight tool on the ground and bending it!

For Simpson, faith was as natural as breathing.  Family prayers were at 8:15am in the dining room.  Everyone had their own Bible in their hand, and the family sat around the mahogany table.  Simpson always read the Lesson, but enjoyed the children leading the prayers. After the tragic death of his fifteen-year old son Jamie, Simpson had a profound encounter with Jesus Christ.  ‘I am the oldest sinner and the youngest believer in this room’ he said to a gathering of enthusiastic medical missionary students.  Despite his fame for discovering chloroform, Simpson said to all: “My greatest discovery is Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour”.

For his service to Queen Victoria, Simpson became the first Scottish doctor to knighted as a baronet. In his memoirs Lord Playfair, Professor of Chemistry, called Simpson ‘…the greatest physician of his time’.  A doctor in the Indian Army said in the Bombay Courier of 22 January 1848 that “the most outstanding character that he had come across in his tour of the medical centres of Europe was ‘little Simpson of Edinburgh’ who had the four ideals for the perfect physician:  the brain of an Apollo, the eye of an eagle, the heart of a lion, and the hand of a lady –nothing baffles his intellect, nothing escapes his penetrating glance…”  Despite all the rejection Simpson experienced, he was eventually elected President of the Edinburgh Royal College of Physicians,  as a Foreign Associate of the Academy of Medicine of Paris, and given the Swedish Royal Order of St. Olaf.

The Scottish people loved him deeply.  When Simpson was dying in extreme pain, he commented: ‘When I think, it is of the words ‘Jesus only’ and really that is all that is needed, is it not?’  To honour this Christ-like man, 80,000 Scots watched his funeral procession in Edinburgh.

My prayer  is that each of us may treat the mothers in our lives, as Sir James Simpson treated all women, with respect and dignity.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Curse God and Die

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

There is a time in every life, comments Stephen Lawson, when all hell breaks loose.  Suddenly.  Unexpectedly.  Cataclysmically.  All hell breaks loose.  One day, life is sunny. Calm. Clear. Predictable.  Your job is secure. Your children behave. Your health is good.  Then out of the blue, like a violent, angry thunderstorm blowing across your landscape, tragedy strikes.  You’re hit hard.  All hell breaks loose.

 

Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why does tragedy strike those who love God the most?  Why do the good die young?   One of the most famous sufferers on Planet Earth asked all these questions.  He suffered so deeply that his wife couldn’t stand it anymore.  She said to her husband Job: “Curse God and die”.  In other words, get it over with.  It’s no use.  There is no future.  You could almost see Job’s wife as the first Euthanasia advocate.  Yet rather than choosing suicide, Job clung tenaciously to life.  Often human tragedies like the loss of career, family, or home leads to an even greater tragedy – the denial of any meaning to life.  This was the great temptation that faced Job, and that faces each of us at least once every 18 months on average.

Job went through horrendous suffering for 42 chapters, and yet he never once gave up.  He was tormented by insults from his friends, harrassed by their insensitive advice and browbeaten into admitting wrongdoing that he never committed.  Under attack, Job groaned, he wailed, he doubted and fell into deep depression, he lashed out like an infuriated animal….but he never cursed God.  No matter how discouraged he was, he clung to his integrity.  He never gave up his rock-bed conviction that he was not to blame for his terrible illness.  Thousands of years later, we modern, scientifically-sophisticated people are still often blaming people when they become sick.  Even in 1997, we can too easily be just like Job’s three comforters who just made their friend feel worse.  “Oh, you’re sick in hospital with cancer…Obviously you are not thinking enough positive mental thoughts, or jogging enough, or eating enough granola.”  One way or another, we can slip into psychosomatically blaming others for their illnesses.

Job was covered from head to toe with putrid boils that never stopped itching.  His feverish body hung limp on its frame, his eyes sank back into his head, and his ribs protruded from his skin.  Job’s three friends lacked the courage to feel Job’s pain, and respond rather than just react.  Job didn’t need a lecture from his three friends; he needed love.  He didn’t need a sermon;  he needed sympathy.  He didn’t need criticism; he needed comfort.  When we are struck down by tragedy, we need to know that our friends really care.  And we need to know that God cares, God really listens, and God will never leave us.

Why is it that so many famous writers, poets, philosophers, and scientists have turned time and again to the book of Job?  Perhaps because it easily takes its place among the masterpieces of the world’s literature.  The author of Job was a poet of rare genius who powerfully expressed our deepest feelings and thoughts.  Sooner or later, we all identify with Job because suffering is part and parcel of life.  We are bonded to Job through our common experience of pain.  Many reject God, but no one rejects Job.  Simply by suffering so greatly and hanging on for dear life through it all, Job has won our hearts.

As Stephen Lawson puts it, heaven is often silent.  In such times, the only answer God gives is a deeper revelation of Himself.  We learn that He is the answer we seek.  Ultimately we must not trust a plan, but a Person.  There is something about our questioning minds that longs for answers.  If we only knew, we reason, we could handle our pain.  Yet placing God’s infinite wisdom into our finite brains would be like trying to pour the Atlantic Ocean into a Dixie Cup.  It just wouldn’t fit.  It’s too vast and deep.

Job’s faith wavered.  He mourned.  He cried.  He protested.  He questioned.  He even cursed the day of his birth.  But he never cursed God.  In the face of adversity, he remained firm in his only hope – God.  When our world falls apart unexpectedly, we must  not dwell on why but on who.  Only God’s disclosure of Himself is powerful enough to heal the heart and relieve the pain.

Job in his sufferings, said Mike Mason, resembled Jesus on the cross.  The only person who has ever endured more than Job was Jesus of Nazareth. We do not need to have nails driven into our hands and feet to know what a cross is.  A cross is a cross.  To be crushed is to be crushed, and we all have had a taste of this.  Job in his suffering was looking for what could only be found in a manger, on a cross, in an empty tomb.  The key to Job’s sufferings, and indeed to life itself, is the cross.  Jesus did not rise above suffering; he went through it.  Jesus let himself be captured by soldiers, tried by legalists and bureaucrats, condemned by a mob, scourged by mockers, and finally pinned and exhibited like a specimen insect… No amount of suffering could shake either Jesus or Job from their rock-bottom clinging to God.  Though he slay me, said Job, yet will I trust in Him.  We can either curse God and die, or bless God and live.  May we choose Life today that we and our children may live.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

 -award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.

. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Pain: Useless intrusion or gift of God?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdDr Paul Brand

One of the most significant books that I have read  is Pain: the Gift Nobody Wants by Dr. Paul Brand & Philip Yancey.  Dr. Paul Brand was a world-famous leprosy surgeon who has spent most of his life caring for the forsaken lepers in India.  He performed countless medical miracles, enabling people with leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) to live healthy and productive lives.

 

Dr. Brand’s  book was endorsed by Dr. C. Everett Koop, a former Surgeon General of the United States, who bestowed on Dr. Brand the Surgeon General’s Medallion.  Dr. Koop said that when he wonders who he would like to have been if he had not been born C. Everett Koop, the person who comes to mind most frequently is Paul Brand.

Dr Paul Brand2One of Dr. Brand’s greatest breakthroughs was the discovery that people with leprosy do not have ‘bad flesh’ that just rots away by itself.  In fact, their flesh is just as healthy as yours or mine.  They are usually not even contagious.  What they lack is the ability to feel pain.  As the blood flow is cut off from key parts of their body, their nerve endings die.  With the death of their nerve endings comes the death of their ability to sense danger to their bodies.  Leprous people live a virtually pain-free existence.  Many of us would do anything to live a pain-free life.  Yet in fact, the absence of pain is the greatest enemy of the leper.  Again and again they wound and impale themselves.  Yet they don’t feel a thing.

Dr. Brand spoke movingly about little Tanya, a four-year-old patient with dark, flashing eyes, curly hair, and an impish smile.  She seemed fine as an infant.  Then when she was a year and a half, her mother came into her room.  She noticed her daughter finger-painting red pictures on the floor of her playpen.  Suddenly her mother realized that her daughter had bitten off the tip of her finger and was drawing with her own blood.  Because of her leprosy, Tanya felt no pain even when she damaged herself.  I wonder how many of us as parents have ever thanked God that our own children can feel pain?

We in the west live in a culture that has a Dr Paul Brand 3remarkable ability to shut down pain in our lives.  People in North America consume over thirty thousand tons of aspirin a year.  North Americans, who only represent 5 percent of the world’s population, consume over 50% of all manufactured drugs, one-third of which work on the central nervous system.  We are the most advanced society in the world in terms of suppressing pain.  Yet the more we try to shut down pain, the more pain strikes back.

 

When we refuse to listen to the pain in our bodies, we invariably begin to destroy ourselves.  Just think of the number of famous football, basketball, and hockey stars who have damaged themselves for life by going out on the field, still injured, with the help of painkiller injections.  If leprosy is the inability to feel pain, then alcohol and drug addiction, which deaden our pain, are forms of modern day leprosy.  The greatest damage that pain-dead alcoholics and drug addicts do is the damage they do to their spouses and children.  That is why I am so grateful for the gift of AA and related 12-Step groups.  I wonder how many of us as parents have thanked God for the ability to feel our family’s pain?

Dr Paul Brand 4As you are reading this article, you have probably blinked your eyes hundreds of times.  Have you ever wondered why we blink?  Dr. Brand discovered that leprous people go blind, because they don’t blink.  Blinking functions like our car’s windshield wipers, washing away the impurities.  It is pain that causes us to blink.

 

Try not blinking for the next 60 seconds, if you need proof of this.  Because leprous people feel no pain, they don’t blink.  The absence of pain actually makes them go blind.  Dr. Brand solved their blinking problem surgically by attaching the chewing muscle to their eyelid.  Every time they chew gum, their eyelid blinks.  As we lovingly look at the faces of our children,  how many of us as parents have ever thanked God for the ability to feel pain in our eyes?

One of the greatest mysteries that Dr. Brand faced was why leprous people kept losing their fingers and toes overnight.  He knew that they didn’t just shrivel up and fall off.  but no one could ever find what happened to the lost fingers and toes.  Finally Dr. Brand decided to have people stay awake all night watching the leprosy patients sleep.  To their surprise, they discovered that rats were coming in and nibbling off their fingers.  Because the patients felt no pain, they never woke up and brushed away the rats.

 

To save their extremities, leprosy patients are Leprosy_hand_affected_fourth_digitnow required to take cats with them, wherever they plan to sleep.  I encourage you as you are reading this article to look down at your 10 fingers.  How many of us as parents have ever thanked God for our hands that reach out to touch our children, and for the gift of pain that keeps them healthy?

 

Over 2,000 years ago, a Jewish peasant loved us so much that he allowed people to drive spikes into his hands.  I thank God that Jesus chose to bear our pain that he might give us the gift of life.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

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-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

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