Illness brings us closer to the Lord
LIFE'S ESSENCE - Katherine R. Oyson (The Freeman) - August 21, 2019 - 12:00am

One evening while I was at a pharmacy, a man seated next to me blurted, “Maam, as we age we could not help having aches and pains in our body. I believe that our illness brings us closer to God. If we are in good shape and are healthy, we are not as close to the Lord as when we are sick.”

He confided that his wife would have to be operated on the next day, for knee replacement. He said, “My wife really wanted to walk again.” He added that he had a rough time because he was the only one attending to his wife. I asked him about his children. He lamented, “Oh, they just called and said, ‘We will just pray for our mother.’ You know our children forgot how we raised them up. I thought that now in our sunset years, it’s their turn to take care of us.” He heaved a sigh and smiled before he left.

What the man said kept on reverberating in my ears. What he shared were lessons in life that I also learned. True, indeed, our illness brings us closer to God. In fact, the late husband of a friend who used to be an atheist finally realized that there truly is a God. In the midst of his illness while being confined in the hospital, he said to his wife before he passed away, “Babe, in the battlefield of life, there truly is a God.”

Robert Murray of website writes: “One of the most direct, palpable, and personally engaging challenges we could all face is illness. When things are reduced to a matter of life and death, things become clearer, things become black-and-white. This is especially important with regards to our relationship to God.”

Murray continues to share the following insights on how illness can bring us closer to God:

• Your heart is opened. When you have been diagnosed with an illness and things look bleak, a lot of things that normally keep your heart closed to new ideas and new insights have been blown away because a lot of that does not matter anymore. The front view would be your mortality, and when you get that moment of clarity, the doors of your heart are wide open. It becomes much closer to God if you want.

• Your heart is broken. The moment the doctors tell you that you only have a few months to live or you have this dreaded disease, you are probably going to face a tsunami of emotions.  Eventually, a lot of your securities, a lot of the things that you placed a lot of pride in, and a lot of things that you drew a lot of comfort from, get destroyed. In many cases, the precise moment when we feel defeated and the precise moment where we feel vulnerable, we can choose to let Jesus fully occupy our hearts.

• You have an opportunity to trust God more. Of course, the number one human reaction to bad health news is to basically try to avoid it, try to fix it, or try to get over it, and it is not unusual for there is to be a period of denial. But eventually, once you let it sink in, you are really left with two options: You can chose to trust God more or you can choose to lose hope. The choice is yours.

• Finally, illness can help bring us closer to God because it gives us the opportunity to accept His will.

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