Sickness. Illness. Pain. All horrible effects of a world scarred by sin. Even born again believers in Jesus Christ are subject to the degrading effects of a world spiraling further and further away from God. But illness, for the Christian, is only a momentary reality.
“Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Cor.4:16-18, HCSB)
John Chapter 11 begins with the exact words that title this blog post: “Now a man was sick.” At first glance, it can be somewhat depressing. After all, you and I both know where serious illness inevitably leads. But as the chapter progresses, John details one of the most amazing encounters of Jesus’s earthly life and ministry. The sick man was a friend of His, personally. And learning the news of his illness, Jesus boldly declared, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God might be glorified through it.” Halfway through the chapter, Jesus tells Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” Jesus weeps over the death of His friend. Then, in an earth-shaking display of His divine power, He raises Lazarus from the dead.
Wow! That’s the part we like to remember. “Lazarus, come forth!” How many Christian songs have those powerful words lyricized? What an amazing story of God’s goodness and Jesus’s authority over even death itself.
But for some reason, we don’t celebrate the opening words of John 11 with the same sense of courageous faith. Understand that the reason this story is so powerful and so encouraging to believers in Christ is because it begins with the words, “Now a man was sick.”
Christian, what ails you? Are you not a friend of God? Right now your story may look a whole lot like verse 1. But you can rest assured that because of God’s grace and glory, verses 4, 25, and 44 are somewhere around the corner. Be encouraged. There is no trouble of man that can undo the glory of God. I wonder how the sicknesses you face today might bring great glory to Jesus tomorrow.
Don’t get so weighed down with, “Now a man was sick,” that you forget to listen for the call, “Come forth!”
Yours in Christ,