Measles are making a comeback.
In 2010, the disease was considered eliminated. This year, there have been 228 cases reported in 12 states. That might not seem like a lot. It is, especially when you consider that we are currently on track to surpass previous years. There were 372 cases last year.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control have classified six measles outbreaks this year. They are in the states of New York, Washington, Texas, Illinois, and California. The surge is blamed on unvaccinated Americans traveling from countries where there was a measles outbreak. Considerable blame is also being cast on the misinformation being spread on the Internet.
Erick Erickson said it best in one tweet.
If we’re not careful, we just might get to experience one of those mass pandemics.
I can understand where the anti-vaxxers are coming from. I’m very skeptical of big medicine. My family does our best to keep it natural. If you come over to our house and break your arm, there’s a good chance that we’ll rub some essential oils on it and give you some kale.
For 12 years I watched doctors feed my mom a variety of drugs. They gave her drugs in an attempt to fix her illness and they gave her drugs to fix what the first drugs messed up. One of my most memorable visits with her happened a short time before her health got really bad. The doctor overseeing her treatment looked at her and said, “I don’t think we really know what’s wrong with you. You probably don’t even have what we’ve been treating all this time.”
So I can understand the reservations of the anti-vaxxers.
But I’ve seen the other side as well. About a year ago, my son’s appendix ruptured. After the surgery, the doctor told us that he was going to be okay but that the rupture was real bad. They spent the next 12 days pumping his body full of antibiotics, weird chemicals I’ve never heard of, and medicines that were accompanied by creepy videos showing you all of the ways that you could die. It was clear that essential oils and kale weren’t going to do the trick.
I was left with only two options.
First, I had to trust God. There could have been a negative reaction to the medicines, just like there could have been a wreck on the way to the hospital to visit him. Neither of those possibilities would lead me to passivity. Trusting God does not absolve us from common sense actions. Rather, it gives us the boldness to do what needs to be done (Acts 27).
Secondly, I had to worship God. A ruptured appendix, much like measles, was a death sentence 100 years ago. Both are still deadly in other parts of the world. One of the doctor’s looked at my son and told him with confidence, “No one dies of appendicitis in the U.S. anymore.” That’s a blessing (Romans 2:4). But it’s a blessing that I would not have enjoyed had I clung to my essential oils and kale at that time.
We need wisdom and discernment. Sadly, those two concepts are often replaced with, “Well, I read on the Internet…” If we want to keep another measles outbreak from happening, we need an outbreak of common sense. Yes, there will be times when the best thing to do is to take care of a medical issue naturally. This is the best case scenario. But it’s not always the best option. There are other times when we’ll need to rely on less-organic solutions. Prayer, reason, common sense, and counsel from actual people who actually know what they’re talking about and aren’t just trying to sell you something should be our guiding instruments here, not fear-mongering websites that contradict what an overwhelming majority of medical experts are saying.
We are blessed to live in a time and a place where diseases that killed our ancestors are easily treated through preventative measures in the early childhood years. Let’s not squander that blessing because of something someone wrote online.