Thursday, 8 April 2021
By Dr. Tho Lye Mun
Mrs. X was very keen to hear what I had to say. Presumably her eagerness stemmed from the over-riding desire to get cured. Who wouldn’t want to be cured, if faced a diagnosis of lung cancer? After carefully examining the scans, it appeared that there was no spread to the surrounding lymph nodes and organs in the rest of the body. Given the relatively small size of the tumour, fortunately, we were dealing with a stage 1 lung cancer which could be cured. Hallelujah.
I detailed the various options but the best recommended course of action was surgery. She was middle aged, fit and healthy so undergoing the procedure should have minimal risks. Her countenance changed when she heard the word “surgery”.
Mrs. X began to speak, “Doctor, surgery is very traumatic on the body… I prefer a more natural cure. I met a natural healer who has recommended vitamins and supplements. They say their success rate is very high.” It was then that I realised she had succumbed to HOPIUM.
Mrs. X didn’t come back for her surgery, but she did come back a year later with cancer that had spread to her liver and bones. Unfortunately, stage 4 cancer is not curable.
(False) Hope + Opium = HOPIUM
HOPIUM exists in all spheres of life. It fuels multi-billion dollar industries, particularly in the areas that promise us wealth and health. There are an unending number of supplements and health devices for sale, ponzi schemes, MLM products and the list goes on (www.bbc.com/future/article/20161208-why-vitamin-supplements-could-kill-you). Just as medical opium is used as an effective pain-killer, HOPIUM is a drug that people take to seek to insulate themselves against the pain of disease, aging, poverty and rejection by society and loved ones. HOPIUM is addictive, people are drawn to the sweet words promising a better life or a better version of yourself and they will seek it out even if it eventually leads to destruction or death.
Does HOPIUM exist in our churches? What if churches told us the Christian life is a journey that should be free of disease, a life of abundance and we should all strive to have the best life we can lead here on earth – because it is “God’s will”? Would we be then led down a path where we avoid the hard times that build our faith and test our love? Will we never know the victory of overcoming sin and fear in Christ’s blood, just like David, cutting down the spiritual Goliaths that hold us captive.
Jesus said that even “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20). Jesus didn’t have it easy, by any means. He told us, in fact, to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). A cross is a heavy.
So what is the antidote to having a HOPIUM overdose? Can we overcome this addiction? The answer is turning away from false hope towards the Living Hope Himself – Jesus.
Jesus will lead us to the best life we can have on this earth, equipping us with everything we need to be overcomers like Him. And what will we overcome? – evil, fear and sin. In John 16:33, Jesus says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We follow the One whom death has no hold over. We follow the One who is preparing a place for us in heaven. We follow the One who has no fear. We follow the One who has overcome!
Let’s meditate on Jesus Christ our Living Hope.
( False ) Hope + Opium = Hopium
（假）希望+鸦片 = 希望鸦片，就像华文成语＂饮鸩止渴＂。
＂希望鸦片＂（Hopium)充斥在生活各领域，它带动了数十亿美元的工业发展，尤其是那些承诺为我们带来财富和健康的领域。市面上的补品、 保健设备种类繁多，还有层出不穷的推销手法，如庞氏骗局、多层次传销（ M L M ）等等（www.bbc.com/future/article/20161208-why-vitamin-supplements-could-kill-you）。就像药用鸦片可有效地止痛一样，人们也用＂希望鸦片＂来减轻因疾病、衰老、贫穷所引起的痛苦，减少亲人及社会对他们的排斥，＂希望鸦片＂会令人上瘾，人们被甜蜜的说话所吸引：它能为你带来更好的生活或塑造更完美的你，即使它最终带来的是毁灭及死亡，亦会令人笃信不疑。
耶稣说：＂狐狸有洞，天上的飞鸟有窝，人子却没有枕头的地方。＂（马太8：20）耶稣在世上从没享受优渥富裕的生活，事实上祂告诉我们，要背起我们的十字架来跟随他（马太16 ：24 ），十字架很重。
耶稣将带领我们在世上过最美好的生活，祂赐给我们克服一切困难的装备，好让我们成为像祂一样的得胜者，我们要克服些什么？邪恶、恐惧、罪恶。耶稣在约翰福音16 ： 33说＂我将这些事告诉你们，是要叫你们在我里面有平安。在世上你们有苦难，但你们可以放心，我已经胜了世界。＂我们将跟随那个死亡也无法牵制、那个在天堂已为我们预备了居处；那个一无所惧、可以克服一切的人！