News agencies reported Friday that the drug Zelnorm, prescribed for Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferers, may be associated with a risk of heart attack or stroke:
WASHINGTON Mar 30, 2007 (AP)— Swiss pharmaceutical maker Novartis AG will stop selling a drug to relieve constipation after it was linked to a higher chance of heart attack, stroke and worsening chest pain that can become a heart attack, federal health officials said Friday.
Novartis agreed to withdraw Zelnorm at the FDA’s request, the agency said in a public health advisory.
The drug recall is an example of something that is meant to be helpful, but it might ultimately do more harm than good. This type of paradox can be seen everywhere. Fire can be good and bad. A locked door can be good and bad (a friend of mine locked his keys in his trunk last week). I have been looking at Psalm 69:1-3 lately. These verses are filled with vivid, yet deadly, water imagery:
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. (Psalm 69:1-3 NRSV)
We need water for our survival, but it can also be deadly. The Psalmist is drownig in water, but has a parched throat. Did the Psalmist not take the time to drink the water to refresh his throat? The same is true of church. Going to church and being involved in the life of your congregation is great, but you can also drown in it if you do not stop to take a drink. This is especially true for pastors. Pastors are surrounded by religion every day. Our tasks can be stressful and tedious. If we are not careful, we can drown. We must take the time to drink from the well of life. If we do not, our ministry becomes much like how the FDA described Zelnorm: the benefits no longer outweigh the risk. You cannot lead others to Christ if you are too busy trying to keep your head above water. You could die trying.