Sickness and health problems seem to generate questions as to the Lord’s goodness. There are two basic responses—acceptance as God’s will or non-acceptance of God’s will. There may be shades of gray or degrees of one or the other of these responses.
Let me give the extreme response of rejection concerning sickness as God’s will. While witnessing to a knowledgeable foreigner who had examined many religions, Buddhism, Shintoism, Christianity, and others, he could not reconcile sickness, death, famine, or evil with a Supreme Being. His question was, “how can a all-knowing God create evil?” If He does, then why worship that kind of God? He totally rejected God due to his perception that God created or allowed in one way or another all the sickness of the world. All our attempts to witness to him of the great grace and love of God seemed to fall upon a deaf ear. This is a total rejection of sickness as God’s will.
Let’s say up front, that none of us totally understand God’s will in these matters. We have seen the wicked prosper in health and the believers languish in health. Sometimes, we cannot see the fairness of God in these matters.
Now let me give you an example of acceptance of God’s will as far as sickness is concerned. There was a godly older lady in Lancaster, SC who had been bedridden for many years. Her faithful husband had taken care of her hand and foot for that time. There was not a sweeter couple in the world even though she could barely get up and walk across the room. Now what makes the difference? They had accepted this situation as God’s plan for their lives. Sweetly they served the best they could. First, they reared a godly son who became a faithful pastor . Second, the husband taught Sunday School class for years at a local church. Third, the wife prayed daily for many people. They lost their lives in a life of service only to find the sweetness of fellowship with the Lord that few ever find.
Which person would you like to be—the one with intellect and wealth who questions the sovereignty of God or the ones who gave their lives sweetly and submissively to God?
I do not know much about suffering, but there are a few things that I can know from God’s hand.
First, sickness had its beginning with the fall of man. Thus sickness is a by-product of the first Adam’s sin and that death sentence has been placed on every individual that comes into the world. Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: No one is exempt from that disease called death.
Second, the tables can be turned in this doomed case. Life is possible; death can be beaten. Oh, I don’t mean that we will not face the end of physical life, but I do mean that when we come to that end, we don’t have to face death. John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. One who trusts in the sovereign God to save them from sin and its curse can have eternal life and bypass death. This doesn’t mean that they escape the cessation of physical life. It means that eternal life is given and when the end of the physical life comes, they ignore the terror and horror of sin’s penalty—death. One can have eternal life now even if sick. Eternal life can only be received during this life time of suffering.