My apologies to those who have been following Manly Training and found that there were NO new articles last week. You see, I ended up getting sick with type A flu. I’ve had the flu before, but this timeit took its toll on me. Even today, ten days after coming down with this sickness, I am week. I had a fever for 8 days, a relentless headache that just went away yesterday and a hacking cough that kept me up at night so I could not rest. Am I just getting old or was this strain just that much more powerful?
As I went through this sickness, a friend reminded me that God’s word tells us that we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
So naturally I asked, what good is sickness? What purpose does it serve? I am not just talking about the flu, but sickness in general. If you look at sickness as a whole, you will come to realize that the fingerprints of sickness are found everywhere. You can find sickness in every country, in every continent, in every state. Illness is found in hot countries, and in ice-cold climates, in civilized nations and savage tribes, men, women and children alike get sick and die.
Everyone Gets Sick
Let us further observe, that all kinds of men get sick; meat-eaters, vegetarians, weak men, muscle men; all are eventually victims of sickness. Sickness is among all classes. Grace does not lift a believer above its reach. Riches will not buy exemption from it. Rank cannot prevent its assault. Kings and subjects, masters and servants, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, teachers and scholars, doctors and patients, preachers and members, all are eventually overtaken by this great foe.
Sickness is of every sort and description. From the crown of our head to the sole of our feet we are liable to disease. There are more different kinds of sickness than we dare to count. No part of this complex human body is exempted. The heart stops, the lungs collapse, the liver degenerates, the bones deteriorate; your brain will forget who you are.
But not only is that sickness among humans, animals get sick also. Plants wither up and die. The stars of heaven, when they’ve blinked enough – they too fall to the earth. The birds of the air get sick and fall to the ground. The fish of the sea get sick and die within the waters from “whence they cometh”. Sickness is often one of the most humbling and distressing trials that can come upon man.
No One is Exempt
Medicine, while helping one part of the body, will damage another. Sickness can unnerve the strongest man and confuse the holiest of men. Sickness is not preventable by anything man can do. It will run down the fastest track star. It will break down the strongest weightlifter and it will tackle the greatest running back. Yes, the suppose faith-healers do not have enough faith to avoid sickness. No one is exempt!
The universal prevalence of sickness is one of the indirect evidences that the bible is true. No where else can we find the answer. We must not be bamboozled by modern day medicine and technology that promises that man will out-live sickness. Sickness came not by the hands of the Almighty but by the failure of man to obey his creator. Sickness is a direct derivative of human sin. Sin is a result of man trying to become God. But salvation is what happened when God became man. Sickness is an alien intruder that has dethroned man from his original position. If there had been no fall, there would be no sickness.
There is Some good News
When Christ died upon the cross, he healed our sin-sick souls but our bodies remain in a deteriorating state. But I say to you today, that strange as it may seem; there is some good in sickness.
‘Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 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 11:1-4
In this text, we find that Lazarus’s sickness was not punitive but was to the glory of God. We must further observe that God loved Lazarus and still he became sick. Sickness is not necessarily an indication of Divine abandonment. It may sometime be for the chastening of the saint or for the glory of God. In Theology, there is a doctrine called Theodicy, in which Theologians try to defend the goodness of God amid the sufferings of the world. But I tell you today that God needs no defence. He is sovereign and owes an answer to no one.
What Good is Sickness?
Lazarus’s sickness did not cause Christ to move faster, nor did it alter the purpose of God. The principle here is that God will sometimes restore the soul and keep it from death or He will revive the soul subsequent to death. God will either remove the pain from the person or He will remove the person from the pain.
We see Lazaruses everywhere in life, there are Lazaruses in nursing homes, there are Lazaruses in hospitals, there are Lazaruses in hospices, there are Lazaruses on death beds and yes there are Lazaruses reading this article today. I submit to you that sometimes we will have to live with sickness. Paul and Timothy, and many others ministered amid illnesses. Let us consider what good is sickness:
A. SICKNESS HELPS TO REMIND MEN OF IMPENDING DEATH.
Most men live as though they are not going to die. They follow business and pleasures as if earth was their final home. They plan and scheme for the future, like the rich fool. But I submit to you today, that a heavy dose of sickness will sober us up quickly.
B. SICKNESS HELPS TO MAKE MEN THINK SERIOUSLY OF GOD, THEIR SOULS AND THE HEREAFTER.
In times of health most people worship with their back to God. But sickness will make us worship God face to face. Anything that causes men to think about God is a good thing.
C. SICKNESS HELPS TO SOFTEN MEN’S HEARTS, AND TEACH THEM WISDOM.
It express the hollowness and emptiness of what the world calls good. Sickness will cause us to hold money with a loose hand.
D. SICKNESS HELPS TO LEVEL AND HUMBLE US.
Man is naturally proud and high-minded. Many have a tendency to look down on others. They secretly flatter themselves that they are better than others. But a sick bed is a mighty tammer of such foolishness. A sick bed cause us to face both: God and our fellow-man.
E. SICKNESS WILL TRY EVERY MAN’S FAITH RELATIVE TO ITS QUALITY.
The weight of sickness will inspect the strength of our foundation. Many who worship during smooth waters of health are useless during the tidal waves of sickness. The storms of winter will brings out the defects in our buildings. Again, anything that discovers our foundations is in itself a good thing.
F. SICKNESS KEEPS US PRAYING FOR OURSELVES AND OTHERS.
We find ourselves more conscious of the sick who were there all the time. Often it takes our own sickness to awaken us to our sense of duty. Prayer becomes our main stay during sickness.
G. SICKNESS SOMETIMES WILL BRING GLORY TO GOD.
Such was the case of Lazarus that we looked at earlier. Or the blind man that we read about in John 9:1-7
‘As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. ‘ John 9:1-7
H. SICKNESS WILL SHOW FORTH THE POWER OF GOD TO HEAL WHEN HE WILLS TO DO SO.
The sensationalist believes that they can make God heal. The sensationalist believes that God does not heal. But the prayerful child of God knows that God can heal at anytime,in any place,and any person that He wills to heal. I do not believe that God chooses to heal with respect to certain ministries and ministers. That’s because God needs no help in being God.
Have you seen these pompous men call the sick to them in large auditoriums? I find that alarming because Jesus met the sick wherever they were; on the streets, on the side of the road, in the graveyards, at water-wells, on sick beds etc. Remember He healed them not for a love gift or a seed offering but because He loved them.
Beloved when it is your lot to live with sickness, remember God promised to be with us, even unto the end of the age. Moreover there is nothing that we will ever go through that God is unaware of, He sees and He knows all.
Our light afflictions on this side pales in comparison to the things that God has in store for us. My brother, my sister, be patient and trust the perfect will of God.
May God Bless and Keep You
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