When Sickness and Disease Threatens Your Soul
Two days ago I got word of a friend whose daughter is suddenly fighting a mysterious illness. It ripped an old wound. Every time this sort of news makes the prayer chain my heart stops. Instantly, I relive pleading and begging and wanting what I cannot possibly get; the wholly, healthy, pain-free daughter I once held in my arms.
When the post of untreatable symptoms comes across Facebook it’s as though their news is our news…all over again. Teeth clench, breath holds, chest heavies. Hold it, don’t breathe, because if you do, the crying will begin, and God knows we don’t know, if or when, we will stop.
Sickness and disease can make us beg for mercy, mull over our head till it shatters like glass. Twist the heart until every last tear is wrung.
On Sundays we used to sing, “Oh them lions they can eat my body but they can’t swallow my soul (no no no).” Maybe the devil can’t swallow my soul, but he can surely ambush my body, tear it in pieces, and leave me desolate. Granted, he hasn’t the teeth for my soul, but he certainly has the tongue.
How do we answer the suffering threatening our soul? When the liar lies, “Pursue and take her, there is none to help”—how will we refuse the invitation to quit?
Sickness and disease can be construed as private. We send a card, make a call, but best to keep our distance and give the suffering theirs. I think privacy has its place, but I’ll be honest, I’ve been way more distant than up close and caring. I’ve sent few cards and made fewer calls. The weightiest reason for not visiting the sick is avoiding the sight of suffering. And who could blame us? Suffering is brutal to watch. It’s face to face with our body’s brevity. It debunks the pretense that the world is fine and we’re all fine and life goes on.
When my daughter was suffering under my care…there were times I ran. Moments my eyes cried for reprieve.
Suffering can trick us into believing we are without hope.
God has no pleasure in our suffering. Jesus destroyed pain’s power to destroy us. Rather than stepping back, he stepped in. He could have closed the windows of heaven and left us in darkness and despair. But He came near—the Messiah is here! Preserving, lifting, and stilling your soul.
Talkers, stop telling me suffering is a lack of faith, when it’s humility I need now, sufficient is His grace. Jesus healed everyone who came to Him, but He did not heal the world—except through the cross. The Spirit gives life when the body only goes six feet under.
His hand lifts my life from the grave, and my soul stands up. The only reason we ever stood is because Jesus stands alone.
We can be hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed.
Consuming the Word keeps your soul from being consumed.
Because His compassions fail not and shine new every morning. Great is His faithfulness when we are suffering greatly.
My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.