Life has its moments –achievements and celebrations, sickness and despair. Yet, just as in marriage, when we promise to stand by one another through every season, we as the church of Christ, promise to love God at all times when we say “yes” to Him.
I was sick just recently, and on the fifth day of my resting and recovering, my heart decided to leap over the dreariness of being ill to declare, “I will bless the Lord.” I made a decision to worship God and love Him with all my heart, mind and soul, whether sick or well, rich or poor, with bountiful energy, and even with the little I might have. As [Psalm 103:1] says,
“Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that in within me, bless His holy name!”
It was interesting to see how I responded to being sick, and God reminded me of a few things while I rested that week.
In my weakness, God is my strength.
I realise I do a lot when I am well, and it is a great thing to live for God and do battle in prayer. Yet, being sick, I lay in bed with time off, but no energy. I thought I would be able to pray for many things, but I mostly ended up sleeping or walking around the house looking for some nice wintery stew or chocolate. The first couple of days being sick were fine but then I got a little grumpy. It was as I went back to work for the third day, better but not 100 percent, that I felt a little nudge in my heart and turned my prayer from just “thank you for helping me Lord”, to “use me, even in my weakness for Your glory.”
I realised that in my being sick (and I only had a little cold), my patience and ability to care for others is tested. Yet, while I might grow in character through my sickness, I can also grow in worship because, it is never by my might or by my power, but always by the spirit of God [Zechariah 4:6]. In my weakness, whether physical, mental or spiritual, God remains my strength, my confidence and my hope.
Every soldier needs rest and refreshing
– to first experience the love and presence of God.
Being sick did remind me how important it is to rest and be refreshed in the Lord. Spiritual resting (spending time in the presence of God) is important, and physical rest also helps (I know I need to sleep earlier!) It is much easier to focus during a set-aside devotion or prayer time when well-rested, than when we are tired, worn out, and distracted by many things. [Luke 10:38-42] tells the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was busy doing all sorts of things – important things, things that would bless people, and demonstrate love for God. Yet Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His word. Verse 42 sums it all up,
“But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
To sit at the feet of Jesus, lay ourselves before Him, and hear His word – this is rest and refreshing. This is life. This is our salvation, and it is our healing. To do this continually will strengthen us so that when the time comes to fight and do battle, we will be ready in full strength. This also reminds me to watch my attitude to ministry. There is nothing wrong with helping out, and doing many things, but if these things take all our attention, they become an idol. God has always been a relational God, and I want to make sure it is my relationship with Him that drives everything I do in life. My very first purpose, mission and ministry, is to love God above all else, and with all that I am.
Lord, I need You.
Another little reminder I had from being sick was how much I need to lean on God. When our bodies are sick, we have a physical limitation. We can push through all we want, but it won’t change the fact that we are sick and unable to perform tasks at full capacity. [Matthew 11:28] says,
“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
How does God give us rest when we lean on Him? These are some ways I have personally experienced God’s rest in my life:
- His peace – feeling fully content in Him regardless of what happens around me, even those days that are busy or stressful.
- The assurance that He will protect me, and fight for me, even when I am facing possible conflict or step put to do something out of my comfort zone.
- The assurance that God loves me and values me, whether I seem to succeed or fail at things in life.
- His joy that sustains me in knowing that everyday is an opportunity to see God’s glory – not just the weekends or holidays, but every single day.
- His presence – it is like a really comforting embrace, and it makes me glad.
- His hope – I can look forward, always, to eternity with Him and I know the worries of this world are only temporary.
- The ability to speak to God about anything, knowing that He cares and that He has the power to transform all situations for good, and for my good – to mould me to be more like Christ.
In sickness, and in health.
So, how do I love God in sickness and in health? Well actually, I think it is much the same in that whether we are sick or well physically, whether in hardship or in a season of plenty, whether a season of wandering or one of harvest, the position of our heart should remain constant in loving God. In [Mark 2:17], Jesus answers those who questioned his keeping company with “tax collectors and sinners”:
“…Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
We were all sick in sin, but we have a healer in Christ. I know that Christ has healed my soul, and I have the hope of being fully restored and transformed in Him. So, how does this knowledge help me to worship God daily, and in every situation?
- Give thanks – we have so much to thank God for, first and foremost that He gave His son to deliver us from sin and into everlasting relationship with Him. This was undeserved, as is every blessing He continues to lavish upon us. Praise God for salvation. Praise God for life. Praise God for His mercies and lovingkindness everyday!
- God comes first – I want to lay down my idols, my ambitions, my boasts and my worries. God first loved me, and my primary purpose is to know His love, and to love Him.
- Let God reign – I want to surrender myself to God and let Him direct me in His way, and for His glory. I am His daughter, but He is God, the Creator, the King. I want to Him to have His way.
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.”