God created us in a way that we could become sick, He could have made it that we are impervious to illness, disease, plagues, etc…. Why then did He make us subject sicknesses?
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 Peter 1:4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
1 Peter 1:5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
1 Peter 1:7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
1 Peter 1:8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
1 Peter 1:9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
This is the “why” sometimes God wants to get our attention or make a point – sickness is not the only way that He does it but it is one of the ways – but it is not always for the same reason. This is why we must evaluate ourselves and come to a God-directed conclusion. We are forced to see who we are more clearly.
Today we are going to go over: Seven ways in which God can use sickness in our lives to accomplish His purpose.
1. Punishment and Correction
This is the one that most people associate with sickness and are most apt to judge others by.
We see this principle being described:
Psalms 107:17 Fools, because of their transgression, And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
Psalms 107:18 Their soul abhorred all manner of food, And they drew near to the gates of death.
Psalms 107:19 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses.
Psalms 107:20 He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
Cause and effect, people realize their sins because of this and turn back to God.
Psalms 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.
Psalms 119:68 You are good, and do good; Teach me Your statutes.
Psalms 119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.
Psalms 119:75 I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Numbers 21:4 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.
Numbers 21:5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.”
Numbers 21:6 So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
Numbers 21:7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
Lamentations 3:37 Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, When the Lord has not commanded it?
Lamentations 3:38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That woe and well-being proceed?
Lamentations 3:39 Why should a living man complain, A man for the punishment of his sins?
Lamentations 3:40 Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the LORD;
Lamentations 3:41 Let us lift our hearts and hands To God in heaven.
Lamentations 3:42 We have transgressed and rebelled; You have not pardoned.
The punishment follows; they were to consider their sin; the fear of punishment which had always been there now became real and they could see it – but now they had to go through and endure the punishment to learn their lesson and make it really sink in.
Lamentations 3:43 You have covered Yourself with anger And pursued us; You have slain and not pitied.
Lamentations 3:44 You have covered Yourself with a cloud, That prayer should not pass through.
Lamentations 3:45 You have made us an offscouring and refuse In the midst of the peoples.
Lamentations 3:46 All our enemies Have opened their mouths against us.
Lamentations 3:47 Fear and a snare have come upon us, Desolation and destruction.
Jehoram’s Incurable Disease
2 Chronicles 21:1 And Jehoshaphat rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David. Then Jehoram his son reigned in his place.
2 Chronicles 21:3 Their father gave them great gifts of silver and gold and precious things, with fortified cities in Judah; but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram, because he was the firstborn.
2 Chronicles 21:4 Now when Jehoram was established over the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself and killed all his brothers with the sword, and also others of the princes of Israel.
2 Chronicles 21:5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 21:6 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab had done, for he had the daughter of Ahab as a wife; and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.
2 Chronicles 21:7 Yet the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that He had made with David, and since He had promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever.
2 Chronicles 21:8 In his days Edom revolted against Judah’s authority, and made a king over themselves.
2 Chronicles 21:9 So Jehoram went out with his officers, and all his chariots with him. And he rose by night and attacked the Edomites who had surrounded him and the captains of the chariots.
2 Chronicles 21:10 Thus Edom has been in revolt against Judah’s authority to this day. At that time Libnah revolted against his rule, because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers.
2 Chronicles 21:11 Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit harlotry, and led Judah astray.
2 Chronicles 21:12 And a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus says the LORD God of your father David: Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah,
2 Chronicles 21:13 but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot like the harlotry of the house of Ahab, and also have killed your brothers, those of your father’s household, who were better than yourself,
2 Chronicles 21:14 behold, the LORD will strike your people with a serious affliction—your children, your wives, and all your possessions;
2 Chronicles 21:15 and you will become very sick with a disease of your intestines, until your intestines come out by reason of the sickness, day by day.
2 Chronicles 21:16 Moreover the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabians who were near the Ethiopians.
2 Chronicles 21:17 And they came up into Judah and invaded it, and carried away all the possessions that were found in the king’s house, and also his sons and his wives, so that there was not a son left to him except Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.
2 Chronicles 21:18 After all this the LORD struck him in his intestines with an incurable disease.
2 Chronicles 21:19 Then it happened in the course of time, after the end of two years, that his intestines came out because of his sickness; so he died in severe pain. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning for his fathers.
2 Chronicles 21:20 He was thirty-two years old when he became king. He reigned in Jerusalem eight years and, to no one’s sorrow, departed. However they buried him in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.
2. See the Work of God in Us
It can bring what God is doing in us into clear focus and because of it we draw near to God and see His purpose.
2 Corinthians 12:5 Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities.
2 Corinthians 12:6 For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
2 Corinthians 12:8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
In our sicknesses we more readily see the difference between us and God. When we truly understand who and what we are and contrast that with who and what God is, we begin to see:
Galatians 2:20 … it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
3. To See the Power of God
Exodus 4:6 Furthermore the LORD said to him, “Now put your hand in your bosom.” And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow.
Exodus 4:7 And He said, “Put your hand in your bosom again.” So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh.
Exodus 4:8 “Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign.
This shows a fraction of His omnipotence and how quick and easy it is for God to remove a sickness as well. SO if He allows us to remain ill, we should search out the reason.
4. As a Mercy
1 Kings 14:1 At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam became sick.
1 Kings 14:10 therefore behold! I will bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male in Israel, bond and free; I will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as one takes away refuse until it is all gone.
1 Kings 14:11 The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Jeroboam and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field; for the LORD has spoken!” ‘
1 Kings 14:12 Arise therefore, go to your own house. When your feet enter the city, the child shall die.
1 Kings 14:13 And all Israel shall mourn for him and bury him, for he is the only one of Jeroboam who shall come to the grave, because in him there is found something good toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.
1 Kings 14:17 Then Jeroboam’s wife arose and departed, and came to Tirzah. When she came to the threshold of the house, the child died.
1 Kings 14:18 And they buried him; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke through His servant Ahijah the prophet.
We know personal examples of those that died as a mercy. Also there are times ahead that God can save us from as circumstances are become worse in the lead up to the Great Tribulation.
5. To Get Our Attention
Numbers 12:1 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
Numbers 12:6 Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream.
Numbers 12:7 Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house.
Numbers 12:8 I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?”
Numbers 12:9 So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed.
Numbers 12:10 And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper.
Numbers 12:11 So Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned.
Numbers 12:12 Please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb!”
Numbers 12:13 So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “Please heal her, O God, I pray!”
Numbers 12:14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again.”
Numbers 12:15 So Miriam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not journey till Miriam was brought in again.
Miriam knew almost immediately that she would not be saddled with this affliction for an extended period. God gave a minimum seven day sentence for her to think about the uncleaness of her heart while she remained leprous.
We can learn the easy way or the hard!
6. Promote the Plan of God
Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
Matthew 4:24 Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.
Mark 2:1 And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house.
Mark 2:2 Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them.
Mark 2:3 Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men.
Mark 2:4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
Matthew 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.
Matthew 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matthew 10:7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
Can we imagine what it would be like if this happened today?
The Return of Christ and His Reign on Earth
Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news [the Gospel], Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 52:8 Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, With their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye When the LORD brings back Zion.
Isaiah 52:9 Break forth into joy, sing together, You waste places of Jerusalem! For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 33:6 Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.
Jeremiah 33:7 And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first.
Isaiah 35:2 ….They shall see the glory of the LORD, The excellency of our God.
Isaiah 35:3 Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees.
Isaiah 35:4 Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”
Isaiah 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Isaiah 35:6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing….
When we are sick, especially in a prolonged and/or laborious way we realize the necessity and value of God’s way of life.
7. We are Being Made Perfect
Become more like God.
Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Hebrews 5:8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
Hebrews 5:9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
Hebrews 11:39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,
Hebrews 11:40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
Ultimately, this is what it is all about, moving in right direction – towards God. We are to be putting on the mind of Christ and His perfect holy righteous character.
There can be other reasons, far be it from me to limit God. If God is working with us at this point in time and we are having repetitive illnesses or protracted ones or painful ailments, we need to learn something from it.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
2 Corinthians 4:8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
2 Corinthians 4:9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
2 Corinthians 4:10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
2 Corinthians 4:18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
These are not all the reasons, but a starting point for us to begin to ask questions about ourselves. We need to ask God to show us, mercifully, what it is that we need to learn and change. Ask Him to see yourself more clearly. Ask for insight and perspective and He will give it to you.