February 21st, 2016
I should be in the pulpit right now, but I have bronchitis – something the rest of the congregation probably does not want me to share. I listened to brother Jeremiah’s sermon on TV about not being conformed to this world but being transformed by the renewing of your mind through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. It was very good. Nevertheless, I have been laid low and have to stay home which is something I do not like to do. Sickness is not something we wish upon ourselves and upon others, but seemingly it is unavoidable.
2 Timothy 4:20 “Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.”
Trophimus was a faithful helper of the Apostle Paul and he had to stay behind because he got sick. The Scripture does not say what his ailment was, but obviously severe enough he could not travel with Paul. Amazingly, Paul did not heal him which indicates the gift of healing was not used indiscriminately and that faithful followers of Christ can become ill. Epaphroditus was another of Paul’s helpers who got sick:
Philippians 2:30 “Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.”
Yet it pleased the Lord to heal him and for Paul to be able to send him on to continue gospel work.
What are we to do when we as Christians get sick? Here are some things I am thinking about:
Pray and ask God for healing. Ultimately my heartbeat and breath are in his hands. I acknowledge my ultimate recovery is in the hands of the Lord.
Go to the Doc. God has equipped men and women with knowledge of how our bodies work and have proven treatments to help in time of need. I hate going to the Doc. but when the antibiotic kicks in I am glad I did.
Rest. Sometimes God allows sickness as a timeout. This seems to be the case in Epahroditus’ experience. He was working so hard to take care of Paul he was failing to take care of himself and he became ill.
Evaluate your spiritual state. Sickness is not always because of some kind of sin in your life. But it is possible to live in such a way we do become sick. Ask a kid after he has eaten too many green apples if this is so. Ingest drugs, alcohol, or smoke into your lungs and see if these things cannot make you sick. Unresolved bitterness can so eat at you spiritually and emotionally it can result in physical symptoms. Constant worry can lead to ulcers and panic attacks and the list can go on. Yes, when a person is ill he should take a look at their spiritual life and make sure they are not the cause.
As you feel better, do something constructive. To stay in vegetative state is not helpful. To accomplish something small when you are not feeling well can actually help you to feel better. Obviously, this is dependent on how sick you are, but even doing something small like bathing, or reading, or some other task can help you take your mind off the illness. That is why I am writing to you right now. I cannot be in the pulpit, but I can direct my thoughts and energies towards you even if I cannot be with my congregation today. Yesterday, I put together all the papers and receipts for my tax lady. This is a job I dislike doing. Getting it done helped me to feel better. Think of something constructive to do while you are recovering.
Praise God for health. Certainly, it is so easy to take things for granted in life. When is the last time we thanked God for water to drink or air to breathe? As a kid growing up I had multiple challenges with pneumonia and other hindrances to easy breathing. To cough so hard you cannot hardly catch a breath makes you realize how dependent we really are. Your heart is beating in your chest and yet how often do we think about and cherish the million and one things God takes care of so we can even exist. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise Him Father, Son and Holy Ghost!
Lastly, can we thank God for all things even for our sicknesses? Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” I remember being at a hospital bedside and quoting this verse to a lady who was very ill. She responded it was very easy for me to say those words to her when I was not the one in the bed with the trouble. Of course, she was right in one sense, but this still does not take away the truth for God’s kids in their time of trouble. This is where faith comes in even when we are down and hurting. Honestly, bronchitis at this point for me is an uncomfortable inconvenience, not a life threatening episode as far as I can tell. I am not like Epahroditus who was nigh unto death. But if I were, my hope at least is that I would still be thankful to God.
Feeling Some Better Already
Pastor John Schofield
James 1:2 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”