Theme: MANAGING CHRONIC ILLNESSES
Text: “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.” – Job 14:1, 2.
Comment: Man is surrounded by organisms that cause and spread chronic diseases. Among the sources of man’s troubles are viruses. Experts say that many viruses kill the cells they invade and if unchecked, such infections can destroy enough cells to kill the parent organism—in our case the human host. Poliovirus can spread to nerve cells, whose widespread death leads to paralysis.
Some viruses have changed the course of human events. Historians believe that the Spaniard, Cortés, and his meagre force overwhelmed the vast nation of the Aztec in 1521 with help from a virus. Some of Cortés’s men carried smallpox, which had long existed in Europe but was new to the Western Hemisphere. The virus ignited a pandemic that is thought to have killed more than a third of the indigenous population.
Even in an average year, influenza kills 20,000 residents. Periodically far deadlier flus strike. In the spring of 1918, with the world engulfed in war, such a virus broke out at a military training camp in Kansas. Within 16 months it killed at least 20 million people—nearly one percent of the world’s population—more lives than all the battles of World War I. Only in God Almighty can mankind find peace and safety. “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” – Psalms 57:1