Pre-Existing Together

“Pre-existing condition”

What does that make you feel?

Not great – if I had to guess.

Unless you happen to own and operate an insurance business and believe this new Healthcare plan will pass.

I know almost nothing about politics. I remember tuning out in school when being taught government. I was genuinely disinterested. I remain so today.

I am not disinterested in the idea that God cares about his creation. I have written before (see: The Gospel of Life) about how I find our “Pro-Life” party willingly limiting that phrase to unborn life quite absurd. This push in the Congress to pass a bill that calls people’s harshest realities “Pre-Existing Conditions” is inconsistent, to say the least.

I guess if you think about it, we are all pre-existing conditions. By being a walking, talking, creating, pontificating human being I am full of “Pre-existing conditions.” I am bound to get injured or to cause injury at some time. Realistically, I do not have to worry about this new “healthcare bill.” I literally have no eggs in this hunt. I am a man, a white man, a white man with a salaried position and my life in not considered a pre-existing condition.

I can easily check out and not worry about it. Why would I care if it does not affect me?

I believe that as a Jesus person, I am required to stand in the gap for people in situations just like this. Jesus never saw people as their “pre-existing condition” he only saw them as his neighbors who deserved love and care. Thus, he was not concerned with the minutiae of the situation. When he heals the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath (Mark 3), he does not stop himself to ask, “should I help this person even though his condition is pre-existing and it is the Sabbath?” In fact, he looks at the Pharisees and says, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill.” (italics added) Jesus considered this act of healing as an act of life-saving grace. He could not help but help.

This story and countless others (Matthew 8:1-4. Mark 9, John 4, 8, 9, and Luke 13:10-17) open me to the reality that Jesus did not consider people important by their current situation. He considered them important simply because of their humanity. He saw their inherent value, not their earned communal standing.

The only “Pre-existing condition” he saw was their Imago Dei, their God image-ness, their created nature.

If the “Pro-Life Party” refuses to care for the life of all – even if it means the businesses involved lose a little of their profit margins – then they need to stop claiming to be the “Pro-Life Party.” Maybe the “Anti-Abortion Party” is a truer statement. Maybe even the “Pro-Money Party.”

My wife and I are currently walking through infertility treatments. It sucks. It is hard enough as is. I cannot imagine how hard it will become if a bill like this passes. We already stress immensely about it. We are wrestling with this thing as hard as we can, and it can feel like a losing battle. Though we refuse to accept this mindset. It has us in the hole already, imagine if insurance could just refuse to help because something is not quite clicking in our DNA’s.

I almost left out that last part. Amy and I are working hard together to combat the chaos that inherently comes on this journey. I am including it because I know there are people just like us who might need to know they are not alone in their walk (which sometimes feels like climbing a 90-degree mountain). So, if you are walking this journey as well, you already know, as I do, that some days are easy and normal, while others feel impossible. I hope on the impossible days you find courage and bravery, because I know we are perpetually digging deep to get through those days, too.

I do want to take a second and say this: my wife is absolutely phenomenal. She is leading us on this journey with kindness, honesty, love, and bravery. Sometimes I just stop and thank God that I wound up with someone like Amy. Her love for me (and everyone she meets) is astounding and unending. She is my lifeline and there is no one in the world I would rather walk hand-in-hand with through life – especially in times of chaos like this.

Unfortunately, this potential law says to us, “You are a problem.” “Your existence is the problem.” “Your life is not important.” “You are the pre-existing condition.”

I think that the story of Jesus turning over the money-changers tables would fit just as well in our health care system as it does in our religious system. Not everyone is religious anymore. Everyone needs healthcare. There are moneychangers today gouging and taking advantage of we meager needers of healthcare.

I do not think Jesus turned over the tables because of the religious implications. Rather, I think he did so because of the communal implications. These people held complete power over the masses and were absolutely abusing that power. In similar fashion, the corporations that run the Pharmaceutical, Surgical, and Healthcare entities hold absolute power over the masses. Some (a very small amount) of their power was stripped by ACA, and that never goes well in a Capitalistic society. All they care about is the bottom line. The communal implications of their greed are vast and ugly.

Ultimately, I am writing today to say that as a follower of Jesus I must refuse the temptation to compartmentalize my faith from the everyday life I live. I must proclaim in the words of Jesus to choose to “do good and save life.” Or what can be harder and let others do good and help save my life.

I do not know the solution to this problem. I do know that needing help is not a sign of weakness. Reaching out for help is a sign of one’s humanity and strength.

So, today, I must reach out and say, “Help!”

I hope you never feel like your identity is being reduced to a “pre-existing condition.” You are made in God’s image and loved deeply. As Brennan Manning says, “You are loved as you are not as you are intended to be because you are never going to be as you are intended to be.”

Grace and Peace,

Reid

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