Men's Health

Let’s talk health and the end of the world for a moment. You probably would have to be a man to have paid much attention to the two recent headlines that have challenged the medical community. Headline #1—a government panel of physicians and researchers released their findings last week with the recommendation that the simple P.S.A. (prostate specific antigen) blood test for prostate cancer (a cancer diagnosed in one of every six American men) no longer be prescribed. “The ‘vast majority’ of men treated for PSA-detected tumors do not prolong their lives, yet that treatment subjects them to ‘significant harms,’ including urinary, sexual, and bowel problems, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in a draft of updated recommendations.” ( But loud protests from the medical establishment are evidence enough that the health community is divided over this proscribed protocol. So whom shall we believe? Headline #2—this Wednesday the Journal of the American Medical Association published a national study concluding that Vitamin E and selenium (heretofore recommended by some as a defense against prostate cancer) are ineffective in such prevention. In fact the study concluded that men who take Vitamin E actually have a small increased risk for prostate cancer (17%) over those who do not take the vitamin megadoses! The truth about most of life is that “we see through a glass darkly” (I Corinthians 13:12). What once looked so certain and convincing so often turns out to be a mirage, a misunderstanding, a misreading, or simply a mistake. Well-meaning though we are, nevertheless wrong we can turn out to be. Is it that way with the things of God, too? Yes. And No. Yes, because my finite comprehension is precisely that—finite. And when I turn my questionings to the infinite God who created me, it isn’t difficult for me to misread or misunderstand his response on any level. Job was right: “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” (Job 11:7 NIV). Are there then no certainties, no verities, no unequivocal divine revelations we as mortals can cling to? But of course! The compelling biblical truth that the God who created us is the God who redeemed us through his own incarnated life and death and resurrection is sure. So is its corollary revelation that “this same Jesus” (Acts 1:11) will return to this earth in a spectacular rescue of his friends at the disintegrating end of human history as we know it. But what about the crescendo of voices declaring that his return and earth’s end are much nearer than we first thought? How reliable are those prognostications? The fact is that even if it were only the economy we were analyzing, warnings from across the political and philosophical spectrum are mounting. The disturbingly obvious fact that no bright mind has found the cure to our global economic plight is telling. A century ago came this analysis: “There are not many, even among educators and statesmen, who comprehend the causes that underlie the present state of society. . . . They are struggling in vain to place business operations on a more secure basis” (9T 13, emphasis supplied). That last line is the recurring theme of our daily news, isn’t it? My personal conviction is that “soon” is no longer an inappropriate adverb to add to the declaration, “Jesus is coming”—“soon.” In fact I believe that his soon return is one of the unshakeable verities that this generation can take to the prophetic bank. “I will come again” (John 14:3) aligns now as never before with “Behold, I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22:12). And that alignment is precisely why you and I can live with an optimistic certainty absent from the medical headlines lately.