1. DISEASE AND DEATH
a. Why is the earth so full of sickness? Proverbs 14:12; 26:2.
“Israel’s sin at Beth-peor brought the judgments of God upon the nation, and though the same sins may not now be punished as speedily, they will as surely meet retribution. ‘If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy’ (1 Corinthians 3:17). Nature has affixed terrible penalties to these crimes—penalties which, sooner or later, will be inflicted upon every transgressor. It is these sins more than any other that have caused the fearful degeneracy of our race, and the weight of disease and misery with which the world is cursed. Men may succeed in concealing their transgression from their fellow men, but they will no less surely reap the result, in suffering, disease, imbecility, or death.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 461.
b. What has God promised to the obedient? Exodus 15:26. What will happen to the disobedient? Deuteronomy 28:58–61.
“When Christ healed disease, He warned many of the afflicted ones, ‘Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee’ (John 5:14). Thus He taught that they had brought disease upon themselves by transgressing the laws of God, and that health could be preserved only by obedience.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 113.
2. A CAUSE AND AN EFFECT
a. What does the Bible say about the cause-and-effect relationship that exists in the natural world? Galatians 6:7. How does this connection relate to our health? Deuteronomy 28:15, 22.
“In the laws of God in nature, effect follows cause with unerring certainty. The reaping will testify as to what the sowing has been. . . .
“God destroys no man. Everyone who is destroyed will have destroyed himself.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 84.
“God has given us powers to be used, to be developed and strengthened by education. We should reason and reflect, carefully marking the relation between cause and effect.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 548.
b. Is disease always a result of our own actions? Exodus 34:7 (last part); John 9:2, 3.
“It is very natural for human beings to think that great calamities are a sure index of great crimes and enormous sins; but men often make a mistake in thus measuring character.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 3, p. 1140.
“Many suffer in consequence of the transgression of their parents. While they are not responsible for what their parents have done, it is nevertheless their duty to ascertain what are and what are not violations of the laws of health. They should avoid the wrong habits of their parents and, by correct living, place themselves in better conditions.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 234.
c. What shows that at times God allows righteous people to become sick, even though they may be faithfully following the principles of good health? 2 Corinthians 12:7–9; Job 2:3–7.
“Job was sorely afflicted, and his friends sought to make him acknowledge that his suffering was the result of sin, . . . but the Lord rebuked them for their judgment of His faithful servant.
“There is wickedness in our world, but all the suffering is not the result of a perverted course of life. Job is brought distinctly before us as a man whom the Lord allowed Satan to afflict.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 3, p. 1140.
3. OVERCOMING DISCOURAGEMENT
a. When Elijah was filled with doubt and discouragement, what did he do? 1 Kings 19:1–4. What are we often tempted to do? Job 7:11.
“It is not wise to look to ourselves and study our emotions. If we do this, the enemy will present difficulties and temptations that weaken faith and destroy courage. Closely to study our emotions and give way to our feelings is to entertain doubt and entangle ourselves in perplexity. We are to look away from self to Jesus.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 249.
“Those professed Christians who are constantly complaining, and who seem to think cheerfulness and happiness a sin, have not genuine religion. Those who take a mournful pleasure in all that is melancholy in the natural world, who choose to look upon dead leaves rather than to gather the beautiful living flowers, who see no beauty in grand mountain heights and in valleys clothed with living green, who close their senses to the joyful voice which speaks to them in nature, and which is sweet and musical to the listening ear—these are not in Christ. They are gathering to themselves gloom and darkness, when they might have brightness, even the Sun of Righteousness arising in their hearts with healing in His beams.”—Ibid., p. 251.
b. What antidote does God give for depression? Psalm 37:7, 8; Matthew 11:28, 30.
“When temptations assail you, when care, perplexity, and darkness seem to surround your soul, look to the place where you last saw the light. Rest in Christ’s love and under His protecting care. When sin struggles for the mastery in the heart, when guilt oppresses the soul and burdens the conscience, when unbelief clouds the mind, remember that Christ’s grace is sufficient to subdue sin and banish darkness. Entering into communion with the Saviour, we enter the region of peace. . . .
“Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings—as much a duty as it is to pray. If we are heaven-bound, how can we go as a band of mourners, groaning and complaining all along the way to our Father’s house? . . .
“If we would give more expression to our faith, rejoice more in the blessings that we know we have—the great mercy and love of God—we should have more faith and greater joy.”—Ibid., pp. 250–253.
4. DEALING WITH STRESS
a. Why do many have high blood pressure and nervous breakdowns? Matthew 6:31, 34.
“God has endowed us with a certain amount of vital force. He has also formed us with organs suited to maintain the various functions of life, and He designs that these organs shall work together in harmony. If we carefully preserve the life force, and keep the delicate mechanism of the body in order, the result is health; but if the vital force is too rapidly exhausted, the nervous system borrows power for present use from its resources of strength, and when one organ is injured, all are affected.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 234, 235.
b. What promises should we always remember? Deuteronomy 33:25; Matthew 6:26–30.
“We need to trust in Jesus daily, hourly. He has promised that as our day is, our strength shall be. By His grace we may bear all the burdens of the present and perform its duties. But many are weighed down by the anticipation of future troubles. They are constantly seeking to bring tomorrow’s burdens into today. Thus a large share of all their trials are imaginary. For these, Jesus has made no provision. He promises grace only for the day. He bids us not to burden ourselves with the cares and troubles of tomorrow; for ‘sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof’ (Matthew 6:34).”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 200.
c. What should we consider when we are weighed down with financial pressures? Matthew 6:8, 33.
“Over and over again I have been shown that when individuals begin to reach out after higher and still higher wages, something comes into their experience that places them where they stand no longer on vantage ground. But when they take the wage that carries on the face of it the fact that they are self-sacrificing, the Lord sees their self-denial and He gives them success and victory. This has been presented to me over and over again. The Lord that seeth in secret will reward openly for every sacrifice that His tried servants have been willing to make.”—Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 612.
5. THE AGING PROCESS
a. As we consider the effects of aging, what should our prayer be? Psalms 71:18, 19; 17:5.
“I was shown David entreating the Lord not to forsake him when he should be old, and what it was that called forth his earnest prayer. He saw that most of the aged around him were unhappy and that unhappy traits of character increased especially with age. If persons were naturally close and covetous, they were most disagreeably so in their old age. If they were jealous, fretful, and impatient, they were especially so when aged.”—Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 422.
b. How does our past childhood and youth affect us when we are old—and how should this factor influence us when we are young? Ecclesiastes 12:1; Ezekiel 16:60.
“Oh, that the youth may realize how important it is to keep the mind guarded, pure and clean, from corrupting thoughts and to preserve the soul from all debasing practices, for the purity or impurity of youth is reflected upon old age.”—The Youth’s Instructor, October 25, 1894.
c. How can the youth and the aged work together to benefit each other?
“How touching to see youth and old age relying one upon the other, the youth looking up to the aged for counsel and wisdom, the aged looking to the youth for help and sympathy. This is as it should be.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 161.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Is there generally a cause for a disease, and what is the main cause?
2. Name some instances where a disease is not the result of our own actions.
3. How can we gain the victory over discouragement and depression?
4. What should we consider when tempted to overwork ourselves?
5. What is important for the youth to consider regarding the elderly?