Day 60 – What About Sickness?
Brother Lawrence wrote, “Consider illnesses . . . as coming from the hand of God, as signs of his mercy. . . . I wish you were convinced that God is often closer to us in times of sickness and suffering than when we enjoy perfect health. Seek no other doctor but him. If we were truly accustomed to the practice of the presence of God, all physical illnesses would be easy to bear. God often permits us to suffer a little in order to purify our souls, and to make us remain with him.”
Brother Lawrence’s advice raises questions of seeing our sickness and suffering as coming from God or ignoring the help of doctors and medicine while trusting God entirely to heal.
Keep in mind that the practice of medicine in the 17th century was at an elemental stage compared with today. Turning to a doctor was a last resort.
While we believe God permits sickness, we might not agree that God sends sickness.
Sickness is only a gift in the sense that God sovereignly uses sickness and suffering to transform us. While we don’t believe sickness is a virtue, we can learn virtue when we are sick.
Considering what we’re all going through in this 2020 pandemic, we want deliverance from our suffering so we can get back to life as normal.
We may worry and become anxious, even fearful. Yet we could miss God’s call to “greatly rejoice” and take advantage of our suffering to “come near to God” (1 Peter 1:6; James 4:8).
• During sickness and suffering, we more keenly learn what God is teaching us about himself, ourselves, and the needs of others.
• During sickness, our faith more intensely reaches out to God.
• During suffering, we more desperately cling to God.
• During tough times, we listen more mindfully to what God is saying to us.
God does know what you’re facing. He does care. He does understand.
Your heavenly Father draws near as he “gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (Isaiah 40:11).
Action Step: When sickness or suffering keeps you from standing up straight, tell God, “Lord, I’m leaning on you.”
This is God’s Word for you today,