Learning from sickness

Learning from sickness

Like a significant number of people in my city and the world, I spent most of the past two weeks in isolation. My wife and I and two of our children contracted COVID. While the children recovered very quickly, it was a rougher few days for the adults of the house, worse than I expected. As someone who rarely gets sick, it was a humbling experience to not be able to do much for a week or so.

At the same time, I was considering the lessons taught in 1 Peter 1 as I prepared for Easter and the Sunday that follows it. Peter wrote to those in difficult times, encouraging them as to who they were because of Jesus. They were elect exiles, people deeply loved and given a living hope due to Jesus. These things were true even when times were difficult, so they could rejoice even through trials.

So what did I learn from a week of being sick? At least these things:

  1. I cannot do everything, and my worth is not based on what I do

I am usually a capable person, someone who prides themselves on getting things done. On most weeks I tick off a great deal from my to-do list. Yet while I was sick, I couldn’t do what I wanted to do or planned to do.

The truth is that I am deeply loved by God whether I am sick or well. It is not something I deserve in any way. Being capable most of the time can make me think that I am worthy in some way because of my work output or ministry standard; being sick reminds me that this is not true at all.

  1. A church family is so much more important than I tend to think

Many in my church family showed kindnesses to my family and myself while we were isolated from the rest of the world. We really appreciated the text messages and phone calls. Some people offered meals; others simply dropped them off at our door. We had many people offer to bring us groceries or medicine if we needed. We found ourselves thanking God often as a family for the church brothers and sisters we have.

This also reminded me of the power of encouragement. Sometimes, it is not the practical things that matter as much as knowing that people care and are praying for you. This is something I strive to do and will see as even more important now I have been through a time when I needed some encouragement.

  1. God’s work continues on

When you are a pastor, you are used to being the one who gets up to preach or to lead that Bible study. While I could not do my usual tasks, others did them. People led the Bible studies and preached the sermons I could not. And people still came and heard the gospel and were changed by the Spirit. It doesn’t all depend on me. The ministry in a church is far more than the ministry of one or two key people, which is a wonderful thing.


Was it a fun couple of weeks? No. As I write this, I’m not quite back up to my normal self. Yet, in God’s providence, I needed these reminders. In our frailty we see God’s goodness more clearly.