When Illness Comes
There are events in life which show us what weak beings we are. In our heart of hearts we know that we are fading flesh but somehow we are loathe to admit it. We may acknowledge the truth intellectually but we are not willing to live our lives accordingly.
The Bible has much to tell us about man’s mortality and the reason for it. Death is “the wages of sin” (Rom.6:23) and after it is “the judgment” (Heb.9:27). In the light of this David was right to pray: “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am” (Psa.39:4). Likewise Moses: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psa.90:12).
Sometimes the Lord has to bring the reality home to us in His providence for our lasting good. Illness is something that can be a spur to serious thought about our souls and we may learn some important lessons from the occasion when Christ was in the house of Simon Peter, one of the apostles (Luke 4:38,39). Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a great fever and the family pled with Jesus that He would help her.
It is surely appropriate that we pray for the sick and especially for those who are close to us. While we pray earnestly for their recovery we do so in an attitude of submission to God’s will: we praise Him whether He is pleased to grant healing or not, in the spirit of Job who said, “the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Christ is the master Physician; He understands our frame and He knows what is best for us.
We can imagine the woman’s condition: a high temperature, a racing pulse and a burning skin. Yet what might have been fatal to her was nothing to Christ. He stood over the woman and rebuked the fever, causing it to depart. At the same time He touched her hand (Matt.8:15), taking hold of her and lifting her up (Mark 1:31).
This reveals our Lord’s power and His fellow-feeling with us. We may enjoy Christ’s nearness when we are laid aside on a sickbed. Christ works the bodily ills of His people for their spiritual good – a comforting thought when we are brought low. We should therefore pray that God would sanctify to us His dealings with us. And while we may not be able like the Lord to heal the sick we should show them every sympathy.
Immediately the woman was healed from her ailment she rose from her bed and attended to Christ and all who were in the house. She was so thankful to the Lord for what He had done for her and she wanted to show Him her gratitude.
It is important that we ask ourselves this question: Why do I desire good health? For some people it is so that they can continue to indulge themselves in the good things of this life: that is selfish. For others it is so that they can contribute to the life of their family or society: that is better but it still misses the mark.
The right reason for wanting health and strength is that we may “walk before the Lord in the land of the living” (Psa.116:9). We are here to seek salvation and to serve Christ in His kingdom. Let us remember that.