Keith Wishum: Are your lights on?

Published 1:45 pm Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sometimes the source of our problems is not what we first think. When we get sick, we call a doctor. That’s what they do, and they, like electricians, perform a valuable service. But, as with our bathroom light scenario, sometimes the real problem lies elsewhere.
Long ago, the Bible advised that the instructions from God “are your life. By them you will live long in the land” (Deuteronomy 32:47). Now, that doesn’t say (like a celebrity preacher recently did) that God smites all those who disobey him. But it does say that good health follows right living.
Dr. Herbert Benson has been a pioneer in mind-body medical research and in bringing spirituality into medicine. He founded the Mind/Body Medical Institute and is the Mind/Body Medical Institute associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Benson, and his fellow believers, are convinced that faith not only feels better, it’s better for us physically.
That’s what Solomon said nearly 3,000 years ago: “fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:7). Perhaps we should listen to such proven wisdom.
If a light in your downstairs bathroom went out, what would you do? If you change the bulb and it still doesn’t work, what next? That may depend on your level of handyman skills, but at some point, you would probably call an electrician.
Why not call an exterminator? Well, because this seems to be an electrical problem and that’s what electricians deal with. Exterminators don’t.
But suppose the problem with your downstairs light was caused by mice nesting in the ceiling and chewing the wiring to your light fixture. Your electrician could replace the fixture, but you would soon be in the dark again unless you got rid of the mice.
Doctors are wonderful, and provide a valuable service. But sometimes they deal only with symptoms. We may fill the prescription and find temporary relief only to discover that something inside us brings the problem back. The mice of guilt, or stress, or lust, or greed, or hatred nest in our hearts and gnaw at the wiring. Changing the bulb or replacing the fixture won’t eliminate the darkness. That must change from within.
Jesus once said, “If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23).
Are your lights on?

Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.