Dear Friends,

I’m sick.  I hate being sick.  I really don’t get sick that often but when I do, I’m a big baby!  I sigh and moan a lot.  Amy tells me that’s a man thing.  She’s probably right, men are just not built for sickness, discomfort or pain.  At least, I’m not, evidently.  Even I can tell I’m whining just by writing this.  It’s not like I have Covid or cancer or anything like that, I just have the Crud, a head cold!  There are many, many people who have serious illnesses or lingering sicknesses who have much more justification to whine than I do.

The issue of sickness is always a difficult one to deal with. If God loves us so much, why does He allow sickness, suffering and death?  The key is remembering that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). When we are suffering with a sickness, disease, or injury, our focus is usually on our own suffering.  It is very difficult to focus on what good God might bring about as a result. Romans 8:28 reminds us that God can bring about good from any situation. Many people look back on times of sickness as times when they grew closer to God, learned to trust Him more, or learned how to truly value life.  God’s perspective is much bigger than ours and He sees beyond the suffering.

This, of course, doesn’t mean sickness is always from God or that God is always trying to teach us something when we are sick.  We live in a world that is cursed by sin with sickness, disease and death. We are fallen beings, with physical bodies prone to disease and illness. Some sickness is simply a result of the natural course of things in this world affecting our physical, imperfect bodies. Other sickness can be the result of a spiritual attack. The Bible describes several instances when physical suffering was caused by Satan and his demons (Matthew 17:14-18Luke 13:10-16). So, some sickness is not from God, but even in these instances, God is still in control. God sometimes allows sin or Satan to cause physical suffering. Even when sickness is not directly from God, He will still use it according to His perfect will.

Sometimes, however, He intentionally allows sickness to accomplish His sovereign purposes. Hebrews 12:5-11 describes God disciplining us as His children to “produce a harvest of righteousness and peace.” Sickness can be a means of God’s loving discipline. He may use sickness as a consequence of sin or as a deterrent to more or greater sin.   If we believe in the sovereignty of God, there is no other option than suffering being something God allows or, at times, causes.

The author of Psalm 119 looked at suffering from God’s perspective. It was good for him to be afflicted. It was faithfulness that caused God to afflict him. The result of the affliction was that he learned God’s decrees and obeyed His Word.  Now, I don’t think my case of the Crud can truly be considered suffering.  It’s actually more annoying than anything else but it has caused me to consider God’s control over my life.

Sickness and suffering are never easy to deal with. The story of Job shows us that Satan will use suffering to attack us, so we must guard against losing our faith in God during our trial. God is good, even when we are suffering. He loves us and is always working for our greater good.  Even death may be an act of God’s goodness.  I would imagine that once we are in Heaven most of the hardships in this life will fade away behind the all-consuming joy of being in the eternal presence of God.

I’m sick.  I hate being sick, but I know that God is in control.  I may not understand it and who knows if I will ever appreciate its purpose, but by God’s grace I know that my Heavenly Father stands with me through any suffering.

Only by Grace,

Pastor Mike