No one wants to be ill. It’s no fun and is often painful and uncomfortable. But God says He’s there for us in times of sickness. This time of year, many people suffer with hay fever, like me. Others have just discovered they have a serious illness or are worried about a loved one who is sick. Don’t worry. Whether God heals us or not, we can take comfort in the fact that He’s there to bear the suffering with us.
God was there in Jacob’s last moments on Earth, used Job’s illness to change his perspective, and healed Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever.
When Joseph discovered his father, Jacob, was terminally ill, he went straight away to see him. (Genesis 48:1-22) He took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and it was at this time that Jacob blessed them. Jacob allowed God to use his final blessing in order to restore harmony to the family that had been divided by his actions. Even in his dying breaths, God could use Jacob for good.
In a different time, Job fell very sick and “[was struck] with terrible boils from head to foot.” (Job 2:7) Though he complained a lot because of his suffering, God ultimately confirmed that Job had a true heart and mighty faith. Throughout the book, Job asks God why he has allowed him to suffer. God never answers this question since Job, as a mere human, could not possibly understand how his suffering has fit into the big picture. But God does challenge his view on life, changes his perspective and finally blesses him again on an even grander scale than before. As the popular slogan goes ‘everything happens for a reason’ and even though we might not fully understand that reason, we can take comfort in the fact that God holds us safely in his hands whilst we are ill and whilst we suffer in other ways.
In the New Testament, Jesus’ disciple, Peter found out that his mother-in-law was sick with a high fever (Matthew 8:14-17). Jesus, full of compassion and love, came to see her. Imagine waking up, no make-up, feeling terrible, to find Jesus sitting beside you? Smiling gently, holding your hand, he touches you and the fever starts to wane? I can almost feel the gratitude, the feeling of being loved that Peter’s mother-in-law must have felt. Jesus sat beside her, touched her, and made her better!
Empowering stuff. It’s terrible to find out that you or your loved ones are ill, but take comfort in knowing that God is with you. You might not understand why it’s happening, but you can deepen your relationship with your Creator through your pain. Don’t ask ‘why me?’ Ask Him ‘please comfort me and use this suffering for good.’ And believe it or not, he’ll come and sit with you, too.
©2015 by Rachel Leathers