What we learn from our sicknesses

What we learn from our sicknesses

It is that time of year when everyone seems to be getting sick. I had a virus a few weeks ago and many family members and friends have been taking time off work. There also seems to be a higher than usual amount of people with more serious, long-term illnesses. Like with all aspects of our lives, we should ask: “how does this help me serve Jesus? What does this tell me about God?”

We must not draw the wrong conclusions about what is happening to us when we are unwell. It is easy to feel cheated as if we deserve whatever plans we have made to work out, and incredibly frustrated when they have not. Instead, there are some important things that we can productively think about when we are sick, including:

  1. We live in a fallen world

We probably already know this theologically; when we are sick, we feel this personally. We feel the impact of sin in the world in our sore joints and runny noses, in the way that our body cannot do what it usually does. This reminds us that so much of our lives are marred by sin even when we are not obviously sick. Sin also impacts our thinking and feeling and desires when we are healthy! Feeling unwell only makes this more obvious to us.

  1. We are less capable than we think we are

Most of us are used to accomplishing a lot in our day to day lives, and sickness stops all of that. If we have a bad virus, we might find the simplest tasks beyond our capability. And if you struggle with a longer-term illness, this becomes very frustrating indeed. We would like to think of ourselves as capable, yet our capability in healthy times is a gift from God not a guaranteed thing we deserve.

  1. Our plans can change, but God’s plans do not

It is very frustrating to have to cancel work or family activities because we are unwell. For many, this means long-standing plans don’t end up happening. This reminds us how little control we really have over the future. God knows what will happen to the smallest detail for He controls it all; we cannot even be sure of what will happen tomorrow.

  1. Sickness should make us long for a better future time

A Day will come when Jesus returns and all who believe in Him will have a perfect body which won’t be impacted by sin. After that Day, we won’t get sick. We should long for that Day, not because of the benefits it will bring for us, but because our ongoing service of Jesus will no longer be restricted and impeded by our sin and the sin in the world. Come, Lord Jesus!


Above all, our sickness should drive us to our knees in prayer. God can heal the sick. And even if He chooses to delay this longer than we might want, we should thank God for controlling the world even on days we cannot control even our little part in it.