We missed one of our seniors last Saturday. He is seriously sick. Considering that older people with their weaker constitution are likely to develop illness more than those who are in their prime, I chose the topic “Facing Sickness Biblically” as our meditation for our Senior Moments last weekend.
I drew two general truths and eight specific guidelines from the word of God to help the seniors respond to sickness in a Biblical way.
The first great truth is that mortality and morbidity will be inevitable in this fallen world. Had our first parents not sinned, we would not be talking about sickness and death. There would be no medical profession or hospitals to speak about. But sin has brought a curse upon this world so that people get sick and die. We live in an unideal world where toxins from the environment, genetic abnormalities, stress, sinful habits, and age result to sickness and even death (2 Cor 4:16; Ps 90:10; Rom 6:23).
The second is that granting that there are earthly causes for sickness, still, God is sovereign and in control of all things, even sickness. Sickness and death do not happen by chance. God oversees even the movement of unseen cells in our bodies. Life and death are appointed; sickness is no exception (Ex 4:11; Rom 8:28; Heb 9:27; Prov 16:33; Job 1:21-22).
The eight particular principles are as follows: First, be a good steward of your body. Take care what you eat; have a healthy regimen of rest and exercise (1 Cor 6:20; 10:31). Second, if afflicted with sickness, pray for healing. The Scriptures are replete with examples of God’s healing power. Nothing is too difficult for Him (Jas 5:14).
The third is, be near to God always (Ps 73:26; 28). In anticipating flesh and heart failure, the psalmist proclaims that God is his strength and portion forever and God’s nearness is his good. This is better than the best earthly medication. The fourth is, when afraid or anxious, pray and trust God (Ps 56:3; Phil 4:6; 1 Pet 5:7). We admire David for his courage. He was a champion in many wars, fearing no Goliaths. But this valiant warrior was still frail man and fear overtook him at times. His advice in Ps 56 is invaluable.
The fifth is, strengthen yourself in God’s word (Ps 1:2-3; 2 Cor 4:16). Better to immerse ourselves in God’s word than be caught up spending excessive amounts of time reading literature about our sickness. There is a promise of strength in reading God’s word; medical literature can offer little comfort, if any. The sixth is, fix your faith on Christ (Mt 14:28ff; Heb 12:2). The circumstances of life can have an overwhelming effect upon our spirits so as to bring us down. Serious ailments can come unexpected. We will not sink if our faith is focused on Christ.
The seventh is, make sure your assurance is well-grounded (1 Jn 5:13). We do not know whether the sickness that has been diagnosed will be our last. We better make sure that our faith is real and proven. We better make sure our faith truly rests on Christ and His work. Eternity is just too long for us to be presumptuous. Lastly, give glory to God in your sickness (1 Cor 10:31). Maintain a good testimony even when bed-ridden. Run the Christian race well even when immobile. There is no excuse for not giving glory to God whenever and wherever.
Let’s not get sick. But if we do, we have these truths to hold on to.