Last night’s study during the youth group was amazing. We are studying the course “Lord I want to know You” written by Kay Arthur. This study teaches the character of God based on how He has revealed Himself by name in the Scriptures. We have been studying this for most of the fall months. There are just a few lessons remaining until we finish. We have studied such attributes as: Elohym – The Almighty Creator God, El Elyon – The Sovereign, all powerful God, El Roi – The God who sees all, El Shaddai – The All-sufficient God, Adonai – God is Lord/Master, Jehovah – the self-existing one, and Jehovah-jireh – God will provide. Last night we covered Jehovah-rapha – the God who heals. I would like to share some of the main truths that we covered here in this post.
I. God is in control of all diseases, both sending and removing
Whenever we get sick with a disease or illness we must realize that God is in control and He has allowed this to happen to us. First and foremost we must establish that the reason that we even get sick is because of sin entering into this world. Sin opened the door for death and along with death came diseases. We cannot blame God for sickness and disease because we brought it upon ourselves through sin. This does not mean that every sickness/illness/disease is because of sin in a person’s life but sin and sickness are connected. God teaches us in His Word that He will protect us from the diseases of this world if we live in obedience to Him. One prime example of this would be STD’s. If we live in obedience to God then we do not have to worry about STD’s.
II. God sends sickness into our lives to help us come to our senses and turn away from sin
Many times we are like the prodigal son, wasting away our previous time and resources on sinful things so God has to help us come to our senses. One way that He does this is through sickness. Whenever we are struck with an illness the first question we should ask is, “am I living in total obedience to God and His Word?” After examining ourselves we will either determine “yes I have sinned and need to confess and repent” or “I have not sinned and there must be another reason for this illness”. If the first is true then you quickly need to admit your fault (humble yourself), confess your sin (to another trustworthy person in Christ, so you will be held accountable not to sin anymore), turn away from your sin, and live in obedience to God. If the latter is the case then we must realize that . . .
III. God may be using this illness to test my faith
James, in his epistle, teaches us to consider it all joy when we as believers experience tests and trials of our faith. One of the best ways that God tests our faith is through sickness. He does not test our faith for His benefit because He knows what kind of faith we have. He tests our faith for our benefit because when our faith is being tested we have proof before our very eyes that our faith is real. Secondly, that testing produces patience and who among us does not need more patience in life? This patience will bring about maturity in our lives and we will not lack anything. Once again we see that God allows sickness/illness in our lives for our own benefit, just like the previous case, He sends sickness so that we will come to our senses and turn back to Him. There is another motive for allowing sickness . . .
IV. God allows sickness in our lives in order to teach us to be totally dependent upon Him
The great apostle Paul, writer of 13 of the 27 New Testament books and awesome church planter could have had reasons to trust in himself and his accomplishments but in order to keep him humble and totally dependent upon God, the Lord allowed sickness in Paul’s life. Paul prayed 3 different times for the sickness/illness to be removed and God’s answer was “My grace is sufficient for you”. Paul realized that because of this illness he had to depend totally on God, relying on Christ’s strength to do anything. If you are walking in obedience to God and He still allows sickness in your life then He is either testing your faith or teaching you dependence upon Him which in both cases is for your benefit.
How do you respond when you experience illness or sickness? Do you first examine your heart and life and see if there is sin/disobedience or do you immediately blame God? When you experience sickness or disease to you receive it with joy as God testing your faith? Do you allow God to use illness and sickness to teach you how to be totally dependent upon Him? May God help us apply His Word to our lives.