Is this verse a promise we can claim?
LIGHT IN A MESSENGER'S EYES BRINGS JOY TO THE HEART, AND GOOD NEWS BRINGS HEALTH TO THE BONES.
Ok. So today, on the last day of this verse, I finally want to tackle a question that’s been looming in my mind: Can we expect good health from good news? Maybe it hasn’t occurred to you, but our verse does talk about good news as medicine for our bones. Do you wonder what that means? Is it merely symbolic? Or is there an actual physical connection between good (or bad) news and our physical bodies? I would say yes, there is a connection. Let’s start with the bad news.
I’ll share my own experience of “bad news.”
The most striking example comes from my childhood. Growing up, my Abuelita (grandma) always had a white stripe down the middle of her hair. I thought it was beautiful and fascinating. One day I asked her why, and she told me the sad story of how it appeared. When her son (my uncle) passed away, she was so grief stricken that her hair turned white down the middle. What a strange and mysterious manifestation of her grief. This is my own real-life story of the physical ramifications of bad news. But I could give you others—personal examples of how bad news or bad times have affected my physical body. I could tell you of ulcers in my stomach after 9/ll and panic attacks during times of intense stress. You probably have some of your own examples. You see, our physical bodies often manifest what’s going on in our minds or hearts. Somehow, there seems to be a correlation between bad news and bad health.
But what about good news?
Well, there’s good news about good news. Good news can have positive effects on our bodies too. Ever feel the weight of some stresser come off of your chest? It’s a real physical feeling. Think about how you felt when you got some great news (like you got the job or the part in the play). How did you feel? Did your heart beat faster? Did your face flush, did you get butterflies in your tummy? While modern Americans tend to think of our bodies as unrelated to our mental health, it’s simply not the case. There are scientific studies that actually prove happier people are healthier people. So, there is a connection between our bodies and our emotions. Like our verse says, good news doesn’t just bring “joy to our hearts,” it can also bring “health to our bones.”
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(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
Does the Bible say more about this?
First off, the Bible affirms that our immaterial selves and our material bodies are intricately woven together. Therefore, what happens in our hearts and minds can impact our bodies. From the very beginning, God breathed life into our material bodies. And though our spirits leave our bodies when we die, we aren’t destined to an immaterial spiritual eternity. Instead, we await the resurrection bodies Christ will give us when he returns. We are whole beings, intended to have our immaterial selves in an embodied form. We also have Biblical examples of how good or bad news impacted people. One “bad news” example comes from 1 Samuel 4. Eli and his daughter-in-law both die when they hear of the death of Eli’s son. Pretty extreme stuff. Paul gives a “good news” example when he says that he “really lives” because of the good news he hears about his friends’ faith (1 Thess. 3:8). Clearly, there is something to be said about the impact good and bad news can have on our whole being, not just our emotional selves.
So, here’s our final question: can we rely on good news to always give us good health?
Lest we put too much credence in the destructive power of bad news and the healing power of good news, we need to remember something: This verse is a proverb, not a promise. A proverb is a rule of thumb—something that is generally true. Here’s one you may have heard before, “Train up your child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). This is NOT a promise we can claim, like, “Hey God I did what you asked, now you keep your end of the deal.” I know some incredibly faithful people whose children are a mixed bag. That’s not because they didn’t do their best to raise them to love Jesus. That verse simply isn’t a promise God makes. The same goes for our proverb. Quite simply, it’s not a promise we can claim, insisting that God give us good health when we get good news. Instead, we can know that good news generally brings us joy in our hearts (our immaterial selves) and also brings us health in our bones (our material bodies).
It’s not wrong to long for good health.
We long for “health in our bones” and “joy in our hearts” because that was how God made us. God intended us to be perfect and whole in the beginning, and he intends it still. So our proverb is just a shadow of God’s final intent for humanity. It cannot now be fully true in our fallen world with our imperfect, dying bodies. However, it should awaken our hearts to the deeper truth of God’s final intent for humanity. And that intent is no mere proverb, it’s a promise we CAN claim. Jesus, will make right our spirits and our bodies. He will fulfill our longing by transforming “our lowly bodies so that they will be made like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).Yes, we were made for health, but not the shadow-health we sometimes have right now. We were made for perfect health in our bones and perfect joy in our hearts for all time. And we can rely on Jesus to make that happen, just as he took up a resurrection body, so he will also give us one of our own. May this good news bring joy to your heart and health to your bones even today.
How is it dangerous to hold God to promises he doesn't make?
How does the perfect health and joy Jesus promises speak to you right now?
Thanks for reading,
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