Last week I mentioned that we should not forget God’s design for our lives when he allows illness to come into our lives. For Christians, illness is used by God to draw us closer to himself and for us to become more Christ-like. He may even use illness for non-Christians to draw them to Himself. Whatever His plan is for us, we can be assured that He is allowing all things for our benefit for we are His children in Christ (Rom 8:28ff).
In our struggle dealing with death and illness, we need to remember that they were not part of God’s original plan for this world. Disease and death were part of God’s judgement against mankind when they deliberately sinned against their Holy Creator. The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 5:12 that sin came into the world through one man and death through sin.
In our struggle dealing with death and illness, we need to remember that the whole world is affected by sin. Romans 8:20 reminds us that “The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope” (Romans 8:20). Therefore, Christians are not excluded. “Not only the creation but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). We may sometimes ask, “Why me?” when illness or death comes our way, but it would be equally valid to ask, “Why not me?”
When Jesus was on earth, to show his power as the Son of God, He healed many people from their illnesses (Matthew 8:16; Luke 6:19). He raised people from the dead (Luke 7:14; Mark 5:41; Jn 11:43;). But Jesus didn’t heal everyone who was ill, nor did he raise everyone who had died, nor did his disciples and neither did the great missionary Paul for that matter. We read in 2 Tim 4:20, that Paul had to leave Trophimus behind, for he was ill at Miletus. Sometimes, it is God’s will not to heal this side of glory.
Thankfully, the misery of disease is only temporary, and death, although already defeated by Christ’s death and resurrection, will one day be fully defeated when Christ returns. Rev 21:4 reminds us that at the end of history, Jesus will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore. We look forward to a time when death and disease will be no more and all who love Christ will sing songs of thanks to the Lamb who was slain to redeem us from the curse of sin. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. JZ