I have never been seriously ill or had any physical conditions worth mentioning. I guess I’m pretty lucky to be overall healthy (we can always discuss fitness). But of course I do get sick from time to time, and as I write I’m recovering from some kind of stomach condition which set me out of order for about a day.
What always gives me cause to wonder is how much the mind is affected by the body. My reasoning becomes tainted, and logic gives way to feelings and despair. I know with my mind that the condition of illness is temporary, but I don’t truly believe it–all there’s room for is one thought: “This does not feel good.” As soon as you start to feel better your mind returns to its regular state, and physiology is no longer an issue.
The human body is an amazing feat of engineering. I probably know too little about it, but it still amazes me how the body is created with the ability to fix itself. Paul tells us that our “body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God.” (1 Cor 6:19) It makes sense to strive for physical well-being, so that the body does not render the mind in a less-than-fit state.
On the other hand, I think in a way that physical well-being can be seen as an image of faith. Not in the sense that Christians are never sick–au contraire, the experience of illness illustrates that we cannot trust our feelings alone. Sure, feelings can be helpful, but faith is more than a feeling. We need a trust in the Lord that permeates our very being so our faith can stay alive even when our feelings tell us otherwise.