Belief doesn’t cure old age, but it helps

Sep 9, 2018 by

by Julian Mann, TCW:

Here is a description of the condition of Joseph Stalin shortly after he had a stroke which was to prove fatal at the age of 74 in 1953. During his near 30-year Marxist dictatorship of the Soviet Union he had been responsible for the deaths of many millions:

‘At 7am the doctors, led by Professor Lukomsky, finally arrived, but they were a new team who had never worked with Stalin before. They were brought to the patient in the big dining room which must have reeked of stale urine . . . Their examination of the powerless, once omnipotent patient was a comedy of errors . . . First, a dentist arrived to take out Stalin’s false teeth, but (according to an eye-witness) ‘he was so frightened they slipped out of his hands’ and fell on the floor . . . The clothes had to be cut away with scissors . . . His right side was paralysed while his limbs quivered sometimes. His forehead was cooled. He was given a glass of 10 per cent magnesium sulphate . . . The doctors asked the guards who had seen what. The guards now feared for their lives too.’ (Simon Sebag Montefiore: Stalin, The Court of the Red Tsar, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003).

As we have seen so far in our series in the book of Ecclesiastes, the Teacher, the Philosopher-King of Jerusalem, has been describing the reality of life in a fallen world under the righteous curse of God. This is a world under the sentence of death because we as human beings have wilfully rebelled against the good and holy God who made us. This is the world of Genesis 3 in which the Lord God had said to the man he had created: ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you: “You must not eat of it”, cursed is the ground because of you: through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.’ (Genesis 3v17-19 – NIV)

And there is no exception to this rule. A man as evil as Stalin gets it, so does the old lady whose worst obvious fault had been a tendency to gossip at the bus-stop.

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