When I start obeying God in proclaiming his Gospel to the unreached, I noticed that my wife was often falling sick. As human tendency goes toward giving a reason to everything, some Christians derived at the conclusion that it was not my calling to preach the Gospel. While some believed that those whose family members are sick themselves, what good are their prayers for other sick people. His enormous grace covered me all those years and made me understand that it is not me but it is He, who is working through me even in my hardest situations. All through these years through various struggles God taught me perseverance and has given me the grace to humble myself before Him.
“You have granted me life and steadfast love and your care has preserved my spirit. Yet these things you hid in your heart; I know that this was your purpose. – Job 10:12-13
Recently, I was suffering from an unbearable pain in my lower back because of a stone in my kidney. As I have been preaching to the sick about the healing in His stripes, I too got a soothing effect whenever I listened to Isaiah 53 on Bible-gateway. Through this experience, I learned the way God works in our lives.
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.” – Psalm 119:67
Human nature is vulnerable to sin in spite of the free will. The unbearable pain has taught me wondrous works of God in our bodies.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139:13
God has knitted every organ of our body and made us a living being. These organs are sensitive to any foreign body. They do not easily get accustomed to a new environment but strongly raise an alarm against a foreign object, such as pain and nausea. In the same manner, every sorrow and grief coming against our soul should raise alarming signal against disobedience to the word of God and should lead us to repentance. Pain is not going to produce death but it helps us to identify, treat and heal the ailment. In the same way, our soul needs a healing through repentance. How are we resisting the devil that is trying to harm our souls? Are we justifying our sins stating various reasons? The author of Hebrews warns us of this attitude.
“In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” – Hebrews 12:4
Are we taking grieves and sorrows as an alarming signal against the devil who is trying to attack us? Are we taking sufficient preventive action to guard our souls? Paul taught us repentance when grief stuck us.
“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.” – 2 Cor 7:10-11
The Psalmist has learned this truth through his dreadful experience as he was running from one place to another escaping from King Saul.
“My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!” – Psalm 119:28-29
Devil is always trying to deceive us through our sicknesses and losses. Whenever sickness and struggles come our way, we should not fear that God is punishing us for our iniquities but should understand that God has taken away the boundary wall, his protection, for a while to fulfill His glorious purpose through our lives. God has sent His son as an atonement for our sins and hence there is no reason to say that He is punishing us.
Jesus came to this world to give us the fullness of life but the devil is in pursuit of destroying our lives. The sickness of our body, calamities coming into our lives, envious friends’ deceitful counseling and hasty advises of our own family members may come against us as a challenge. If we fail even for a while, we will be landing into eternal death. Rather we should understand that God has removed his protection only from our belongings and not from our soul. If we are fearing God only for blessing and protection of our belongings, we utterly fail in guarding our soul. If we fear God for His unique, unconditional, unfailing and incredible love in spite of our shortfalls, only then are we able to guard our souls.
God gave testimony about Job regarding understanding God’s love. If we love God we will be able to unveil many mysteries that hover over our lives. In the midst of sorrow that words cannot describe, Job was able to feel the everlasting love of God and was expecting eagerly to see his redeemer as he understood the truth that later Paul revealed to Corinthians.
“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” – 1 Cor 15:54-55
Job’s love for God gave him a revelation about the ever living resurrected God and he said
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God. – Job 19:25-26
John in his vision got an acknowledgment from God Himself regarding Job’s revelation.
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” – Rev 1:17-18
May God reveal the secrets of His Kingdom in the midst of our pain and sufferings so that our sorrows may turn to joy.