Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sin, Sickness, and Death for the Child of God

Why would a God of love allow sickness? Why are so many good people suffering? These are questions that we may ask at sometime in our life whether it be ourselves or a loved one who is ill. I have even seen among Christians, guilt trips laid on those who were sick. "If you would just confess your sin you wouldn't be sick". "If you just had enough faith you would be healed." How sad, I even saw a beautiful couple leave a church because of such an incident. I can only hope they did not turn from God because of other Christians who had made them feel condemned. In the book of Job we see a similar situation. Who needs friends like that.

We cannot possibly know all the reasons why God would allow some to suffer. It was not His intention in the beginning. The sin of Adam and Eve brought a curse of sin on the whole world. Therefore sickness entered our world. There is only one who never sinned and He was willing to die for our sins. Jesus loved us enough to take the sins of the world upon Himself.

God does not make us sick, but He does allow it. Sometimes we are sick because of sin and have to suffer the consequences. If we are an alcoholic we can have liver problems and if we smoke we can have respiratory problems and even cancer. Promiscuity can lead to disease. Even some of the foods we eat can make us sick. What we do to our bodies has a great affect on them.

Is all sickness a result of our sin?

The disciples asked Jesus when they passed by a blind man. And as He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; about it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9: 1-3 Jesus went on to heal this man and it was a powerful witness to many others, as this poor beggar could not stop glorifying God. Not all sickness is a result of sin and God can use it for our good and the good of others. Romans 8:28 To Him be the glory.

Sickness can be an attack of Satan.

And behold, a man from the multitude shouted out, saying, "Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy, and behold, a spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth, as it mauls him, it scarcely leaves him. Luke 9:38-39

Satan often attacks those who are living closest to God. After all he doesn't have to inflict those he already has. Why not go after those that belong to God for he would love to cause the Lord's people to lose faith. He would like to take as many as possible with him to destruction.

And behold, there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. And when Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, "Woman you are freed from your sickness." And he laid His hands upon her; and immediately she was made erect again, and began glorifying God. Luke 13:11- 13

We have only to look at Paul's thorn in the flesh. Satan sent his fiery darts but God only allowed that portion which pierced only the part of Paul that was in danger of the sin of pride. And because of surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me- to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 2 Corinthians 12:7-8

Have you ever read the book of Job? I would suggest that you do. The book of Job has much to teach us.

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil. Job 1:1 Now there was a day when the sons of God (angels) came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the Lord and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it." And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." Then Satan answered the Lord, "Does Job fear God for nothing? Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou has blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. Put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has; he will sorely curse Thee to Thy face." Job 1:6-11

Satan challenged God that the only reason that Job loved Him was because of all the things God had blessed him with. Poor Job lost everything, even his children. Satan struck him over and over yet Job still blessed the name of the Lord. He did not sin or blame God. Then Satan challenged that if he struck Job's own body that he would curse God. God gave Satan permission, but was told he could not take his life. Job's response to the entire crisis was worship, humility and acceptance. God allowed all of this, but Satan can not touch the life of a child of God without God's permission.

Job's reward was great. And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. Job 42:10

Several years ago a friend of mine was dying of cancer of the spine. She was in great pain and so frail, like a little newborn bird. A sweeter woman you could not have ever met. She had served the Lord all of her life. She slept most the time under sedation. There were others in the room and they brought up the subject of the book of Job. Someone recalled what Job's wife had said during all of Job's suffering. Job was covered with painful boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.

Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!" But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10 When Job looked within himself he was shaped by God. My dear little friend heard this and with strength and conviction she sat up in her weakness and said, "Never". What a blessing she was to all. Our heavenly Father received the glory to the end and I am sure that many have been saved by the testimony she held throughout her life.

Sickness can used by God

One thing sickness can do is to bring us closer to God. It can also bring our families and friends into a closer relationship with Him in their prayers for loved ones. Spiritually we become strengthened. Sometimes the very suffering we go through makes us better people. God often uses adversity so that we might see the importance of having Christ in our lives. It can also produce compassion for others. Without Christ we can become bitter and resentful. Have your ever visited someone sick to comfort them and left feeling you the one blessed?

No temptation has over taken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it. Corinthians 10:13

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. Hebrews 2:10

"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulation, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5

Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

There is no suffering that God Himself has not felt.

He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Isaiah 53:3

God has not left us.

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:14

And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. "Matthew 10:28

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 9:28-30

The Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, Thou dost restore him to health. Psalm 41:3

..and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24

Heal me O Lord, and I will be healed…Jeremiah 17: 14

Sometimes through sickness and suffering we ourselves are brought closer to God. It takes great faith to praise God during a terminal illness than to be instantaneously healed at the diagnosis. It is our opportunity to testify to the goodness of God.

If Fanny Crosby had not been blind we might have never even heard her wonderful songs. She even claimed if it could be offered to her to regain her sight she would refuse. She didn't want anything to be a distraction.

Handel was paralyzed in his right arm and side when he wrote the Hallelujah Chorus. Look at how God has used Joni Eareckson Tada the quadriplegic as well as many others. If she had never had that diving accident which left her unable to even take care for her own needs we would not have been so blessed by her life. They are all living testimonies of God's greatness.

There will be no sickness or death in the new heaven and earth.

..and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any morning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." Revelation 21:4

If God says No

"Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death." John 8:51

Death is but sleep for the child of God. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall all be changed. 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me…. Psalm 23:4

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones. Psalm 116:15

Whom have I in heaven but Thee"? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26

When Christ died He destroyed death.

;;;knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. Romans 6:9

Even if God does not take us out of our adversities, He will see us through them. Death is not the end, but the beginning of eternal life. Amen

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