It’s that time of year right now when it seems as though there is an inordinate amount of people I know who are sick – the flu, sinus infections, bronchitis, strep throat, the common cold, and what many people have termed “the junk”. People are missing work, school and church because they can’t bring themselves to do much more than keep breathing while they shuffle back and forth from the medicine cabinet to the bed. Being sick is miserable, not only do we feel like we’ve walked through a car wash, but there’s nothing we can do about all our responsibilities that are being piled on someone else while we’re down. When we’re sick it’s hard to bring our minds to a place where we think about something else besides how bad we feel and how much there is to do that we can’t get to. But sickness exists inside the sovereign plan of God and he has ordained it for his glory and our good. So, how can we take advantage of being sick? How can we use our sickness to be productive (at least spiritually-speaking).
1) Recognize that you are not independent and in-control – Sickness makes us drop the reigns. If we aren’t careful we can easily get to a place where we believe the lie of self-dependence and self-sufficiency ( i.e. – “I got this”). Being sick is a reminder from God that we desperately need him and he is the one calling the shots. When we’re sick, it doesn’t matter how much we may want to get up and check off our to-do list; we’re in that bed until God revives us.
2) Reflect on the agony of the cross – For most of us, being sick is not a normal occurrence, so we should not allow ourselves to miss an opportunity to let the pain we are experiencing lead our thoughts to the torture Christ went through for us. Remind yourself that even with as bad as you feel, it is but a speck compared to what Christ experienced when he was “crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). Pray that God would use these thoughts to move your heart to worship Jesus through the suffering.
3) Look forward to the day when sickness will only be a memory – In the new heaven and new earth God will dwell with us in perfection, which means that sin and the effects of sin will be no more (Revelation 21:3-4). If we’re not proactive, then sickness leads to spiritual near-sightedness so that we only see the pain that is permeating our situation. In your sickness, every time you blow your nose remember that there will be no Kleenex in heaven. Every time you choke down a dose of Robitussin, remember that there won’t be such a thing in heaven. And every time you wish the pain would just stop, remember that such a thought will never enter your mind in heaven because God will restore perfection to all creation through his only Son.