Sunday, October 6, 2013

"The Presence of Sickness"

       Pastor preached today on "The Presence of Sickness".  He shared several things that I needed to be reminded of.

       In the Bible in John 11:1-4, we have the story of Lazarus, a man who, with his sisters Mary and Martha, were not just followers of Jesus but obviously close friends because Jesus was a frequent guest in their home.  Lazarus was sick.  And Jesus, the Great Physician, could have spoken the word and healed Lazarus, but didn't, so Lazarus died.

       We tend to equate good health, prosperity, and blessings as being signs that we are "right with God".  But that isn't always the truth.  As here in the Lazarus situation, these were good people, doing good things, and loved by Jesus.  And Lazarus was sick.

       When we accept Jesus as our personal savior and are living the best we know to please the Lord, we are just as Lazarus:  justified before God, and loved by Jesus.  But we get sick.

       Pastor reminded us today that Jesus allows sickness for a reason.  While we will never know all of the reasons, some of them are:

             1.    It helps us focus our praying.  A prayer with a great burden is one you pray fervently and continually.

             2.    Sickness humbles us and shows us our dependence on God.  It shows us that we are not in control.

             3.    Sickness opens the door for prayer and often sharing the gospel with someone who otherwise may not be interested in eternity.

             4.    It burdens us to pray for ourselves and for others.

             5.    Sickness is sent by God for good, not for evil, and to take us higher with Him.

       Jesus loved Lazarus.  Lazarus' sickness and death wasn't because of doing wrong, but was for God's glory.

       In caring for a loved one who is in great pain and suffering, it is often hard to see how the Lord can be glorified through the situation.  But for those of us who know the Lord as savior, we can be assured that He is in the midst of that pain with us.  We are not alone.  And our suffering here on this earth is not in vain. 

       Caregiver, what we do as we care for our loved one is as unto the Lord for Jesus said that when we give as much as a cup of cold water to someone in need, we are doing it as unto Him.  As hard as the labor can be, remember that it is a labor of love.  Keep looking up, asking the Lord to give you clear guidance and understanding.  He is a God who hears and answers prayer.  It may be that He will not change our situation, but He will surely change us!

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