Being sick is no fun, usually. I do remember having a mild case of chicken pox when I was in the 1st grade that just happened to coincide with a good friend also having them. He stayed at my house for several days, excused from school together, a little itchy, but still able to play. That was not a bad sickness. But still, being sick is usually not fun.
Sickness is a regular part of our lives. As young parents, we dealt with lots of sick days, cleaning up unmentionable messes from every home and human surface. We spent a lot of time juggling sick days and make up work and doctor visits. We suffered our share of the colds and viruses that make the rounds of each family member.
Vicky and I have seen our share of serious illness as well. Not in ourselves, but in my father’s heart issues and Vicky’s mother’s cancer. Like many families, we watched sickness take their lives much sooner than we were ready for. And we are painfully aware that many people have conditions that are much, much worse.
I am grateful that the Bible offers us the promise of an eternal existence where there is no more pain, sickness or death. I believe this is an important part of the gospel message. It is not merely wishful thinking. Jesus rose from the dead to let us know that death is not the victor in the game of life. As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15, “Death has been swallowed up in victory… Thanks be to God. He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There is also another comfort Jesus gives us in sickness: each other. One of the intended consequences of our faith in Christ is that we will meet each others’ needs. Sickness will come. God does not promise to heal every sickness as long as we are on this earth. But He does command us as His people to take care of each other. As long as there are Christians, no one should be lonely in the local nursing home or unable to find help to take care of their children when they are sick.
This is an ideal that does not always work out in real life. And no one of us can do this alone. But as we work together, we can minister to the sick. We will be doing exactly what Jesus said He is looking for, as He describes it in Matthew 25. “I was sick and you looked after me.”
Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC