So I promised on Twitter that my next post would be on Christians and Illness. Well, I’m finding it a hard one to present properly–it’s a tough topic. My friend suggested to me that perhaps I should split it into 2 posts, which was a great idea. I’m not sure that this is exactly what I’m really doing…I think this post is more of a laying of the foundation for the next post. A pre-quel, shall we say. Yah. Let’s give it a try.
So why illness? Of all the trials in our lives, I think illness brings us to our knees the most painfully because it hits so close to home. Think of Job. God allowed Satan to attack his livestock, his servants and his family but his health was off limits. 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:22 NIV)
But Satan knows our failings…
4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” Job 2:4,5
So our health is a compelling weakness.
Even Christ had to overcome trauma to his body prior to and during his crucification. In fact, this was part of the Plan. 8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.” Hebrews 5:8,9 He did suffer more than physically (betrayal, separation from God on the cross, etc) but I think it is evident that he must have suffered greatly from the physical abuse alone.
The suffering is what revealed his perfection to the world. And he is our example…it’s not too surprising, therefore, that we also will find our health attacked.
Paul showed that he understood this in Colossians. 24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.” Colossians 1:24 NKJV
Really, to be honest, C.S. Lewis does a great job discussing why Christians have illness and suffering in his fab book, The Problem of Pain, so if you want to dig deeper into this issue and just can’t wait for my next post, this is where I would start.
Alright–3 things to remember: 1. our health is a weak spot for us and Satan knows this. 2. Christ experienced severe physical pain himself. 3. Christ walks through every minute of every day, through every painful moment, with you.
By Margaret Fishback Powers
One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
one belonged to him and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened
at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it.
“LORD, you said once I decided to follow you,
you’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when I needed You the most
You would leave me.”
The LORD replied,
“My precious, precious child, I love you and would never leave you.
During your times of trials and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.”