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The Medical Guidance of God: How to Have Healthy Bones

Human bones, Xray-style: Illustration 318222428 | Background © Poznavaikainfo | Dreamstime.com

[Originally published as Healthy Bones]

The Bible Teaches True Science

Unhealthy Bones

  • The sins of my youth “fill up my bones” and plague me till I die. (Job 20:11)
  • Days of affliction lead to “bones pierced at night.” (Job 30:17)
  • My depression leads me to cry all night and my bones are “vexed,” i.e., agitated, anxious, dismayed. (Psalm 6:2–6)
  • Because of my grief and sighing and exhaustion of my iniquity—my bones are “consumed,” i.e., shrink, weaken, become moth-eaten. (Psalm 31:10)
  • My sin keeps my bones from “resting” i.e., from completeness, soundness, health, quiet. (Psalm 38:3)
  • My bones are burned as a hearth — which are cracked, weakened, and crumbled by the fires on them — I forget to eat till my bones stick through my skin. (Psalms 102:3–5)
  • A wife [equally true of both spouses] who brings shame causes her husband’s bones to be “rotten,” [i.e., decayed, worm eaten]. (Proverbs 12:4)
  • Envy [coveting what others have¹] causes my bones to “rot” [i.e., decay, become worm eaten]. (Proverbs 14:30)
  • A broken spirit causes my bones to “dry” i.e., wither away. (Proverbs 17:22)
  • If my spirit is not calloused, then trying not to witness for God will cause my bones “to burn like fire” [supernatural fire, altar fire] and I will be driven to obey. (Jeremiah 20:9)
  • When I see God’s holiness and the sin of my people then my bones “shake,” [i.e., flutter, grow soft] and I must preach and warn. (Jeremiah 23:9)
  • When I sin, a loving angered God sends fire into my bones and prevails against them [i.e., scrapes them out] in an effort to wake me up to my peril. (Lamentations 1:13)
  • My terror causes rottenness to enter my bones. (Habakkuk 3:16)

Healthy bones

  • “Can These Bones Live?/ Bones, hear the word of the Lord./ God will enter into you and you shall live and be part of a great army” (Ezekiel 37:1–7). It is God’s job to revive, not mine. I need to admit that I have brought bone damage upon myself and cry out for health restoration.
  • When I praise the Lord by saying, “Who is like you?”, my bones will join in the praising. Sing to the Lord a new song and let your bones be healed. (Psalms 35:10)
  • Trust in the Lord with all my heart and quit trusting my own understanding, in all I do seek to know him more and let him direct my paths. Quit thinking that I’m all that smart, fear the Lord, depart from evil—result? Healthy bones. (Proverbs 3:5–8)
  • Seek out good news and focus on positives:
    • What can I do by God’s strength? Do it with all my might.
    • What has he given me? Savor it.
    • Who is in my life? Love on them, live joyfully with them, give to them from my strengths, and receive from them in my areas of weakness.
    • Who am I? Rejoice in seeing the details of how I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    • This will be fatness to my bones. (Proverbs 15:3)
  • Find power from the Holy Spirit to control your tongue. May the words of your mouth be gentle, kind, peaceful, loving, joyful, patient, and encouraging. This will bring health to your bones and won’t hurt the other person’s bones either. (Proverbs16:24)
  • Let God minister to the needy through you and he will reward your obedience with fat bones. Fat bones, with rich, blood-producing marrow, are good to have. (Isaiah 58:11)
  • Let the God of all comfort, the only true Comforter, comfort you in all your trials so that you might point others to the same source of comfort that you have found. When you focus on the good that God is doing all around you: your bones will flourish like green grass that feeds others and stays green and keeps growing. (2 Corinthians 1:4; Isaiah 66:14)

My prayer for us, is that we might live in such a way that God can give us healthy flourishing fat bones and not have to fill them with decay and fire before being motivated to act. The choice is yours.

Science Catches Up: Healthy Bones

Whether it’s work-related, family-related, environmental, physical, or emotional, stress causes our bodies to fall out of balance and can cause the leaching of calcium from our bones!

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When we are stressed, our bodies release a stress hormone called cortisol, which, if it continues to be released for even a matter of hours, causes havoc on our system. Cortisol causes our blood to be more acidic. To help bring our bodies’ pH back in balance, our system releases calcium from our bones and teeth. The calcium helps neutralize the acidity of the cortisol, in a way that is similar to how antacids neutralize stomach acid, helping restore our bodies to neutral. Each time we experience extended times of stress we deplete calcium stores from our bones.

The simple answer would seem to be to eat more dairy and we should be fine, but it’s not that straightforward.

When stress becomes chronic, our diets cannot replace the calcium depletion fast enough, so our bones are constantly being leached of calcium, leading to potentially more porous, brittle bones, and osteoporosis.

Chronically stressing ourselves may also cause us to eat more, smoke more, drink more alcohol, eat the wrong types of foods, skip a workout, or interrupt sleep patterns — all of which impact our system, including our ability to maintain bone strength. If our food is low in calcium, or our bones are not being compressed with exercise, or we don’t sleep well, our bones become weak.

Chronic focus on the negatives of life is enough to trigger the release of cortisol, which triggers the release of NF-kB, a transcription factor that acts directly on bone cells to increase osteoclast activity (that break down bones) and signals osteoblasts to kill themselves(apoptosis), decreasing bone rebuilding.

Our ongoing stress focus also:

  • lowers our levels of neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which lowers its effect on the sympathetic nervous system, decreasing its ability to maintain or increase bone mass.
  • increases the formation of reactive oxygen species ROS that also stimulate more production of osteoclasts and the apoptosis of osteoblasts,
  • decreases insulin-like growth factors [IGFs] that keep the osteoclasts from differentiating, thus decreasing bone rebuilding,
  • and affects the estrogen balance.

All these weaken the bones while accentuating our sense of being stressed, forming a viscous cycle.

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Stressors Aren’t the Problem

Brethren, don’t think that it is strange to go through trials. Trials are not unhealthy stress but opportunities to grow, be refined, bring God glory, minister to others, etc. Even the fight or flight response is good when we need it.

So where is the problem?

It is continuing to hang on to and circle on the details of the issue that causes the problems. It is not casting my cares on God because I doubt that he cares for me or is capable of handling them.

Medical science gives us a clear picture of how a failure to “cast all my cares on God” is bad for my bones.

Footnote

  1. Envy is not the same as biblical jealousy, which is fighting for the health of a relationship against anything that tries to interfere. Jealousy in Scripture is a virtue and God is jealous for us.

Verle Bell Portrait 2018

Written by Verle Bell M.D.

Verle Bell M.D. is a practicing psychiatrist deeply conscious of the brilliant design Jesus Christ built into the human psyche. Besides holding the role of senior pastor for several years he has been a follower of the biblical creation movement for decades. You can find his thoughts on the Bible, mental health, and living as Jesus' disciples at VerleBellMD.com

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