Before I was afflicted I went astray, buy now I obey your word. (Psalm 119:67)
Is sickness always an attack of the spiritual forces of evil in this world? If we are looking for the root cause of sickness, the answer is a resounding “Yes,” taking us all the way back to the encounter between Satan and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Now that sickness has entered into this world through the fall, we must decide if it is always the result of a demonic attack on us. Are we to assume, as the faith healers tell us, that God wants us to be healthy all the time, all the way into glory? When you put the question in that light, the answer to this question is an emphatic “NO!”
Sickness is a servant of our Savior. Is this not the truth that God put on display in the life of the apostle Paul? Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh,” and he prayed three times that God might take it away. God did not do that. Paul explained that his sickness was his Savior’s servant that kept Paul from growing conceited because of the incredible ministry God had given to him. We do not know what the thorn actually was — speculation from commentators has ranged from migraine headaches to malaria to bad eyesight to back problems to bad feet — we do know this: God could have taken the thorn away in an instant; God could have prevented it from ever happening, but He did not. Instead, God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
When we understand this truth, we change our perspective on sickness. Instead of first crying out for healing, we look for God’s purpose in it. To be sure, it is right to pray for healing and a restoration of our health, but we must not miss the deeper message that God sent sickness or infirmity as His servant to draw us closer to Him. Perhaps it was sent because of some sin (1 Corinthians 11:30) or because of satanic attack (Job 2:7) or some other unknown reason (John 9:3). But regardless of the reason, all sickness becomes a servant in our Savior’s hand. If God allows it to continue, you can be sure it is for His glory and your ultimate good.
Has sickness been testing the outer edges of your health plan lately? Cry out to God, but pay close attention to His response. It may be for you as it was for Paul, that God has a far greater purpose to accomplish in your life with this sickness than without it. When this is the case, submitting to the servant of sickness for the glory of our Savior is the pathway to blessing.
We must remember that we have been bought at a price and we are not our own. God has a right to do with us as He pleases to accomplish His perfect purpose. If He has ordained sickness as His servant in our lives, we are to receive it, knowing that His grace is sufficient and His power is being made perfect in our weakness. All glory to our God, until we get to the other side of the grave, where there will be no more sickness, no more suffering, and no more sorrow.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!