Saturday, September 4, 2010

Retaining a remission

I've heard the word "remission" used to describe someone who is cancer free (e.g. their cancer is in remission).

In looking up the definition, I found that remission means: "the state of absence of disease activity in patients with a chronic illness, with the possibility of return of disease activity." 

That definition seems to fit what we've been told. As reported this last week, the spinal tap shows an "absence of [cancer] activity" in Talitha. However, secondary cancers are always a concern once you've battled the primary cancer into remission.

I guess that's why the doctors say the cancer is in remission and then they keep doing follow-up exams for years and years to monitor and catch it quick if the disease returns.

I vote for permanent remission.

In reading the scriptures, I've found that the remission word is used to describe forgiveness of sin.

Just like physical disease can weaken and even destroy the human body, spiritual disease can weaken and destroy our spiritual bodies.

In doing a quick search of the scriptures online, I found 46 verses that use the word remission as it relates to being healed or forgiven from the adverse effects of sin. In some of those verses, the word "retain" was used (e.g. retain a remission of your sins).

So it seems to me that remaining disease-free has application both when speaking of physical challenges like cancer and also spiritual challenges like sin.

There are specific things that we are currently doing and will continue to do throughout Talitha's life to support and preserve her physical state of remission.

The scriptures are very clear regarding the things we must do to receive a remission of sins and then to retain that remission throughout our lives.

As great as our desires are for physical well being, how much greater should be the desires for spiritual well being.

When Jesus was confronted with the criticism of the scribes at the time He forgave the sins of a young man stricken with the disease called palsy, He replied with this classic question, "Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?" (Mark 2:9)

Then Jesus proceeded to heal the physical disease, having just a few moments earlier healed this same young man from the more consequential spiritual disease.

My hope and prayer is that our joy in seeing the Lord raise Talitha from her bed of affliction might be a timely reminder of the even greater, eternal joy to be found in Christ's power to raise us all from our spiritual beds of affliction.

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