We are thousands of years from the tree of life; and we all feel it, too, especially when it comes to our physical health. Sooner or later, unless we are killed when young by trauma, we all come to the harsh reality of the loss of health.
And, as difficult as the loss of health is, how much more painful when it strikes, not just ourselves, but someone in our own family? How many parents have, especially as they have dealt with an ill child, wished it had been them, the parent, who was sick instead of the child? Unfortunately, we are not given that choice.
What do all these accounts have in common? Mark 5:22-24, Mark 5:35-43; Matt. 15:22-28; Luke 4:38-39; John 4:46-54.
In each of these cases, and no doubt in so many more, it was a family member beseeching Jesus’ help for another family member.
No question, we recognize that we suffer because we live in a fallen world. When sin entered the world, not only did death enter, but also chronic pain, illness, and disease. When faced with a chronic or terminal illness, we may experience shock, anger, despair, and may even feel like shouting, “My God, my God, why have you deserted me? Why are you so far away? Won’t you listen to my groans and come to my rescue?” (Ps. 22:1, CEV). As David did, we’d do well taking our questions, anger, and pain to God.
In many ways, sickness and suffering will remain a mystery until death is finally defeated at Jesus’ return. At the same time, we can glean important truths from God’s Word. While Job endured unspeakable pain, he experienced a deeper intimacy with God. He explains, “I heard about you from others; now I have seen you with my own eyes” (Job 42:5, CEV). Paul had some sort of chronic illness, and how he dealt with it tells us that suffering can equip us to comfort others, it can give us compassion for others who are hurting, and it can enable us to minister more effectively (2 Cor. 1:3-5) – that is, if we don’t allow it to break us.
|Whether we or family members are suffering with illness, what promises can we claim? Why, at times like this, is the reality of Jesus, our Lord, suffering on the cross so important to us? What does He on the cross teach us about God’s unfailing love, even amid illness in our family?|