On Side Effects
Side effects are strange things. Doctors prescribe drugs to eliminate one problem while causing another. My favorite is a commercial for a popular arthritis medication. The ad touts the “freedom” the patient will experience once he or she is on this wonder drug. At the end a man’s voice-over lists the varying side effects: diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and on and on. Sound like freedom to you?
The chemo drugs are doing a great thing but the side effects that accompany them are rather annoying. Then they give me pills to counteract the side effects, but they cause different side effects.
For instance, my oncologist has me on a pill for the nausea and for the most part it’s working; it certainly takes the edge off. But it causes hiccups and burps and sometimes stomach cramps, especially after I eat. Sheesh! Talk about the lesser of two evils.
All in all, though, this round of chemo seems to be going much better. The nausea is very tolerable, the fatigue is manageable, and the sensitivity to cold is avoidable.
Now, all this talk of side effects got me thinking of the side effects of sin in my own life. Unconfessed sin definitely has side effects: anxiousness, worry, doubt, fear, anger, bitterness. Certainly, all these are normal emotions for what I’m going through, but the root of sin can worsen them, magnify them, allow them to get a foothold in me that’s hard to shake. And that breaks my communion with God.
The solution? Psalm 139:23 God, examine me and know my heart; test me and know my nervous thoughts. Constant communion with God. Opening my heart so He can examine me, find those sinful ways, and expose them to me so I can confess them.
At a time like this, in a valley like this, I need my communion with God to be unbroken by sin. I need to be close to Him. I need His strength. I need His probing eyes examining me, purifying me.
I need Him in every way.