Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 27, 2018
I was sick and you looked after me… When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:36, 39-40
Rita, my wife is a caregiver “whisperer”. This past weekend, she sat down with my mom, my brother and me for a time of listening and learning. With eyes of love and concern, Rita brought comfort and peace to my mother’s eyes of fear and anxiety. Thanks to my wife’s prior research and preparation we brought food to settle her irritating intestinal issues and a game plan to work through one primary care physician who could coordinate and monitor mom’s medical needs. Caring for someone who is sick is a labor of love that reflects Christ’s perfect love to an ill body.
When we look after the sick, Jesus says, the object of our love is the Lord Himself. With eyes of faith we don’t just see a frail, sickly frame of a friend or family member, we are gazing on God, who became flesh in the body of His son Jesus Christ. We love and care for someone because we love them, but more importantly, because we love the Lord. God’s glory shines in watchful dark hearts, when a heart of love lightens the load of a body broken by disease from living on earth. What society tends to shun, Jesus uses as a picture of His sacrificial love. Care reflects Christ.
“The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness” (Psalm 41:3).
Ultimately, it is the Lord Jesus who sustains and restores someone from their bed of illness, or He calls him home to be with Him forever in heaven. Hope for healing is a healthy hope. But, wisdom also leans into the expertise and experience of trained medical professionals who can administer the latest remedies to an ailing body. Modern medicine does not replace a need for prayer and trust in God, but is already an answered prayer. Our faith is ultimately in God who gives doctors the ability and intelligence to practice medicine. When we need advocates to help us navigate a myriad of medical options, we must humble ourselves and trust them to help us.
Most of all, whether we are sick or caring for the sick, we look to Christ for patient love and humble trust that He is in control. He created our body, so as Creator He knows the ins and outs of what we need and what we don’t need. His grace is sufficient to sustain us in our pain or to strengthen us in our resolve to love well the one who suffers in pain. Many times our caring presence is helpful medicine. Not a flood of words, rather quiet tears, a brief Bible reading and a sincere prayer. Pray with eyes of faith to see Jesus, as you care for someone who is sick.
“So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick. When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (John 11:3-4).