Health, Yelps… and John Calvin’s Prosperity.
July 10, 2013
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Today’s “successful gospel preacher” is measured by how much health, wealth and prosperity he pronounces upon or promises the congregation. But what would the Christian’s life be like without any challenges and trials? Did God promise a walk of blissful exsistence? How about the Apostle Paul and the church fathers or the Reformers for instance-did they have health, wealth and prosperity as we are promised by most televangelists? [In stark contrast] despite the incredible amount of work he produced, let alone sermons he prepared, its almost unthinkable to figure out how and when preachers like John Calvin had time to fall ill. But hold onto your socks! Calvin suffered from poor digestion, migraines, kidney stones, gout, tuberculosis, and lung hemorrhages, possibly brought on by too much preaching and teaching-oh and not to forget some good haemorrhoids too. In a letter to his friend Heinrich Bullinger he described an occasion of his health as thus:
spiked crystal kidney stone
At present, I am relieved from very acute suffering, having been delivered of a calculus [i.e a stone] about the size of the kernel of a filbert [i.e hazelnut]. As the retention of urine was very painful to me, by the advice of my physician, I got upon my horseback that the jolting might assist me in discharging the calculus. On my return home I was surprised to find that I emitted discolored blood instead of urine. The following day the calculus had forced its way from the bladder into the urethra. Hence still more excruciating tortures.
For more than half an hour I endeavored to disengage myself from it by violent agitation of my whole body. I gained nothing by that, but obtained a slight relief by formentations with warm water. Meanwhile, the urinary canal was so much lacerated that the copius discharges of blood flowed from it. It seems to me now that I begin to live anew for the the last two days since I am delivered from these pains. [Excerpt from John calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine & Doxology]
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.( James 1:2-3)