The Double Test

Surprised By A Mean Dance Partner For New Year’s Eve

I explained, to Ed my old neighbor, in Saskatchewan, that as the past year slipped away and the new year arrived, I was in an unexpected wrestling match with red, itchy, patches of rash, invading one side of my body.

Roughly sixty years ago I caught the disease, chicken pox in public school. It was an uncomfortable disease that introduced me to calamine lotion to help with the itching. The childhood disease of chicken pox has a permanent side to it.

The chicken pox virus remains in a person’s body until death. At any time the chicken pox virus may reactivate itself as shingles. Shingles is an irritating rash that affects one side of the spinal cord. The rash may appear, on the lower back, around the belt line, under the arm or under the chest, on the face and around an eye. Although anyone who had chicken pox can get shingles, it most commonly strikes people in their sixties and seventies.

My old neighbor, Ed, felt that getting shingles is rare and that I must have some specific, personal, condition to come down with the disease. I told Ed that he was right, the reason was that I had chicken pox as a kid. He was positive that it had to be more than that.

My old neighbor said that since I came down with shingles as the past year ended and the new one was starting it was a double test. Ed said, “Well you made it out of 2017 alive, while having shingles, but you are an old person so that the next test will be making it out of 2018 still living. I told Ed that the doctor said that shingles can be effectively treated and that they are temporary not fatal.

No year comes with a guarantee of good health and security for anyone.  Job, in the Old Testament, enjoyed good health and wealth in his life, but he met a double test of sorrow and poor health. In Job’s first test his camels, oxen, sheep, and servants were carried off by raiding enemies. His first test also included the death of all his loved ones except for his wife. When his wealth and family were taken away, Job acknowledged that both had been given by God and praised God in his grief.

His second test was that his good health ended. Job was afflicted with painful sores all over his body. He did not see it as a punishment from God, but that he needed to accept both good and trouble as God’s will for him. He suffered painful sores without blaming God. Eventually, he was healed. In his trials, Job learned that both goodness and troubles can come our way at any time and God is present in both for the good of our souls.

At any time, in 2018, we can break out in sinful thoughts and actions that will result in suffering for ourselves and others. Jesus Christ knew he must provide the treatment needed for our souls, for we all have a sinful virus in us, that reactivates in our sinning often. Faith in Jesus, is the medicine needed, in that his blood covers our sins with divine healing.

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