April 15, 2010

Illness is Painful

Written by Boyd Bailey

Illness Is Painful…“Now Elisha was suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him”. 2 Kings 13:14a

Illness is painful to the sick person and to the ones who love them. It is painful to experience and it is painful to watch. Illness does not discriminate. It afflicts the spiritual and the unspiritual, rich and poor, young and old. Sickness is a result of living in a sin cursed world and occupying an environment that has been infiltrated by decay.

Some diseases can be treated with medicine, but others cannot. Medication may slow down the effects of illness, but some ailments cannot be stopped. They are terminal. You may be living on borrowed time. This is hard. I struggle with a young man in his prime, with small children, as he becomes stricken with a fatal illness. This doesn’t seem right, or even close to fair. Where is God? What is God up to? We are all terminal. We all will experience death. But why do some die much sooner that others?

I have to remember, that this world is not our home. God has us here on a temporary assignment. We are on earth to glorify our Heavenly Father by doing His will. His will is clear. His passion is to make disciples. However, while we are in the process of making disciples, there is an enemy to contend with. And one of the enemy’s weapons is illness.

His strategy is to sideline you from God’s mission by using crippling and even terminal illness as a deterrent and a distraction. But God has a different plan. Because of, not in spite of, your illness is God drawing you and others closer to Christ. You are privileged to glory in the sufferings of Christ. “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17).

Your great faith in God in the middle of adversity is compelling. Your Savior’s serenity challenges others to look again at this Jesus who is your rock and refuge in the middle of physical imperfection. The elevation of your faith lifts the faith of all those around you. God is drawing you and all those around you to Himself.

Dying can be a more powerful witness than living. Therefore, cling to Christ, love Him and praise Him. He is the great physician, who will give you the ultimate healing in His time. In the meantime, before you go home, invite as many people to join you. They will listen, because you have something they both need and want: peace with God and the peace of God. Illness is painful, but it is not wasted pain, but one of eternal purpose.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Who can I encourage that is entangled by illness? How can I use my illness for His glory?

Related Readings: Ephesians 3:13; Philippians 3:10; Hebrews 2:10; 1 Peter 4:13

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