Monday, February 22, 2010

Being Sick to the Glory of God...

I got sick recently. It wasn't too bad, but sickness is sickness. Doesn't feel good. It did give me time to think about how I could be sick to the glory of God.

1. Reminds us that we are mortal: Illness is one of the best things for remembering that we do not live forever. When we are healthy, especially if we are young, we take every day for granted. We assume we will wake up tomorrow. We assume life like this will go on forever. Illness reminds us how weak and frail we really are. We really are a mist that vanishes and we really do fade like the flower. "For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now" (Romans 8.22)

2. Reminds us of our default selfishness: Selfishness is always a struggle for us. Especially so when we are sick. Our friends and family turn into butlers and maids who should do our every bidding. No one should expect anything from us, because, after all, we are sick. As difficult as it can be to be others-centered when sick, we must fight through the selfishness and look for ways to serve others. "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Philippians 2.4)

3. Provides a time and reason for prayer: When sick, you probably have unexpected free time in your schedule. Use this time for prayer. Jesus beckons us to pray, so that the Father can answer our requests (John 14:13; 14:14; 15:7; 15:16; 16:23; 16:24). Prayer gives us this opportunity. While you may feel as you lie on the couch or in bed that you are accomplishing very little of your to-do list, God has provided you the chance to accomplish much in the spiritual realm. Pray. "You do not have because you do not ask" (James 4.2)

4. Reminds us of our dependance: Once we hit about sixteen, we feel pretty autonomous. We feel pretty independent. We forget just how dependent on God we are. Sickness cripples our own abilities and functions, showing us our need for Him. Jesus wants us to have child-like faith, always relying on the Father for needs, life, and desires. "Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18.4)

5. Reminds us of the gospel: We shouldn't need to be reminded of the gospel. I sin just about every second, so that alone should keep my mind fixed on the gospel. The fact that the "good news" is the greatest news in the history of the world should keep my mind fixed on the gospel. But I forget. So, God uses sickness to remind me of the gospel. We are all sick with sin--an incurable disease--that leads to eternal death. There was no cure, but One. Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, taking our wages of sin on Himself. Death, guilt, judgment, being an enemy of God, being a slave to sin--all gone through Jesus. In our sanctification, as we struggle with sin, we look forward to heaven. We look forward to being with the Great Physician. We look forward to the place where there will be no more sickness, where we will be seated with Jesus forever. This is the good news of the gospel. "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall their be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21.4)


  1. ...and I would add something I thought much of in my recent-near-death-seeming sickness was of how I long for heaven. Being sick made me long for it more so. We are mortal...and we live in a cursed world in cursed bodies....
    I thought of how disgusting the stomach flu was - and that it kind of pictures what sin does left unchecked...

    Can't wait for heaven - a perfect body and complete freedom from sin (and the stomach flu)!

    PS - hope you're feeling back to better!

  2. I do, I feel pretty good. Good point about longing for heaven--freedom from sickness and sin--and being with Jesus forever.