How well do you handle sickness in your own life or the lives of those close to you?

How well do you handle sickness in your own life or the lives of those close to you?
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Psalm 41:3

The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.

Is God Trying to Tell Me Something?

When I am very sick sometimes I think God could be trying to tell me something, like slow down! Perhaps He is trying to get my attention to tell me to take better care of myself, to get some rest, or to just take a day off once in a while. I am a bivocational pastor, and at times I get worn out, but, thankfully, I have not gotten sick that often. Maybe it’s because others are praying for me. Maybe it’s because I try to take at least one day a week and get some rest. But God could be telling me something when I get sick, and I try to learn from it. When one of my family members, friends, or church members gets sick, I sometimes handle it worse than when sickness hits me, and it makes me more fervent in prayer and beseeching–no, begging–God to intervene on their behalf. I feel more helpless, to be honest, when someone I love gets sick than when I do. It makes me feel helpless in the sense that all I can do is to pray for them. But instead of looking at it like praying is the least I can do, it is really the most I can do, so I tend to pray more in these cases because I know that God’s eyes are upon us when we pray, and He promises to hear our cries, even when they’re for someone else (Psalm 34:15).

Praying in Faith

I love to pray in faith to ask God to heal this person because I know that a prayer of faith can make all the difference in a sick person’s life (James 5:15), but I also ask the person if they’ve requested the prayers of the saints or elders and anoint them with oil if they don’t object to it (James 5:14). I never force myself on the needs of sick people but place myself at their service. Maybe it’s an unconfessed sin that could be involved, and, if so, we can be forgiven (1 John 1:9). The prayers of the righteous saints of God can make all the difference (James 5:16). God is still doing miracles today, but maybe He is wanting us to see just how important it is to us before He answers. The same God Who performed miraculous healings with Elijah is the same God we worship today. I am not saying that God promises to heal each and every time because God is sovereign and He always does as He pleases and what is best for us (Rom 8:28). Even the spiritual giant Paul prayed three times to be healed, but God said that His grace was sufficient (2 Cor 12:8).

Reading to Recover

When I’m or others I know are sick, it makes me dive into Bible reading more, and that’s what God would desire anyway. I’m not saying God sent an illness to me or a friend of mine for that reason but there is so much hope that we can gain from the Word of God when we’re ill, things like our assurance of God’s value of us, more than His created creatures (Matt 20:29-31), that God’s purpose in our lives will stand no matter what we experience (Psalm 138:8), that our hope is secure in Christ (Rom 8:29-39; John 10:28-29), and that we need not fear even death or the shadow or appearance of death because He goes through these valleys with us (Psalm 23:5).

A Closing Prayer

Great God in heaven, You alone are sovereign over all things in our life, and You allow nothing that does not first come through Your hands. I know that whatever happens, Your purpose for us cannot be altered or changed, and I thank You for Your faithfulness. In Christ’s holy name I pray.

Amen

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