You are going to get sick.
And, maybe even really sick.
How does God want you to think about that?
People will tell you lots of different things you should think, but how does God want you to think about sickness and healing? We are taking some time to look at what the Scripture teaches.
In our first post we asked is it wrong to be sad that you are sick?
Now for a question that kind of follows from that:
Is it ok, that I really, really, want to get better?
And again to an unbeliever, these kinds of questions have got to be hard to process, but as Christians, we’ve got a lot of information they don’t have, that we have to think through, correctly.
For example, while we know, sickness and death ultimately are results of the fall, we also know, if we are sick God’s allowing that to happen, and even if the sickness is terrible, and we die, we believe, that we are going to be with God, and then after that, there’s a resurrection, which is way, better.
I ask people sometimes, what are you thankful for and people sometimes say, I am thankful to be alive, and I sometimes say, if you are a Christian, you are going to be even more thankful to be dead, and I am just kidding.
When Paul was in prison, and looking at possibly dying for his faith, in Philippians 1, he said.
“If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which shall I choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is better. But to remain on in the flesh is more necessary on your account.”
So, there’s a sense, in which it is normal and right for a Christian, to want to go to heaven, and generally getting sick and dying are the way we get there, so does that mean, that when we are sick, it’s wrong for us to really, really desire for God to make us better?
And again, like the question before, the answer to that question is not quite as simple as we might think, because.
First, we have to ask, what’s motivating that longing to get better?
Of course, if we are just looking at being healthy or being sick, by themselves, which do you prefer, being sick or being healthy? Being healthy is preferable, because that’s the way God originally designed the world to work. But, we are not just talking about saying healthy is better than being sick. We are talking about being sick and wanting to get better, and sometimes, that desire to get better, becomes almost all consuming, in a person’s life, and that’s all a person can think about, that’s their one prayer request, that’s pretty much, the only thing, that matters to them, and that’s because they aren’t looking forward to eternity, and so, that kind of desire is a problem, because it’s not being motivated by truth.
But on the other hand, even Paul, who longed to be with Christ, pleaded with God to take away physical sickness.
And I am interpreting.
But I am sure sometime we will study through the book of 2 Corinthians, Lord willing, and we’ll come to the final chapter, 2 Corinthians 12, and we’ll talk about what Paul means in verse 7 and 8.
When he says.
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.”
And I am fast forwarding through a lot of interpretation and exegesis, but I think Paul’s talking about an eye disease, he experienced, and he’s asking God to take it away.
And so it seems obvious, but recognizing that it’s better to be with Jesus, doesn’t mean we stop being human, and start liking pain as pain and sickness as sickness and death as death.
Even when Paul’s friend Epaphroditus was sick, and this is the book of Philippians where he talks about longing to be with Christ, as well. But when Paul’s friend Epaphroditus was sick in Philippians 2, verse 26, Paul says, “He has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard he was ill.”
And, Paul doesn’t say, why were you sad that he was sick?
He actually says.
“Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.”
Epaphroditus getting better was an act of God’s mercy, and so of course, it’s not wrong for us to be appropriately sad when we are sick, and to ask God to show us mercy, and even plead with God, to heal.