My mom was a frail and sickly person. Since my childhood, I remembered there was a drawer at home dedicated to the storage of various medicines, and the drawer was always full. Growing up in such an environment, I heavily relied on medicine during illness, and I would buy the most expensive medication, only hoping I could get better soon. Later, my mother believed in the Lord Jesus, and medicines in the drawer reduced little by little, to the extent that I couldn’t even find cold medication. Actually, what I am trying to get across here is not that we will not get sicknesses due to our, or we need neither see a doctor nor take medicine during sickness. But rather, when illness comes to us, what kind of attitude should we have? What should we put into practice so as to adhere to the Lord’s will? By experiencing God’s work and praying to Him and seeking His will, I understand some paths of practice.
1. After being corrupted by Satan, we are all sinful and sickness is normal, so we should treat disease properly and we should not complain about God.
We can understand the source of illness after knowing the origin of sin. When God created our ancestors Adam and Eve, they did not suffer any pain, neither did they need to experience birth, aging, sickness and death. Since Satan tempted Adam and Eve, we human beings had the pain and suffering of illness and death. Now there appear more and more diseases and they are increasingly refractory. What’s worse, they tend to happen to young people. Some infants also have stomach problems, and some people even suffer from cancer at their young age. The increase in the number of these diseases and their causes indicates that the world has become increasingly evil and we are being more and more severely corrupted by Satan. Living in this dark and evil world, because of our corruption and sins, we contract diseases. Therefore, we should not expect that God must heal our diseases as we believe in Him. This is an irrational manifestation.
Another point we need to understand is that sickness is normal. We eat all kinds of grains, so getting all kinds of sicknesses is in line with the laws of nature. In addition, there are also our own reasons, such as irregular lifestyle habits, bad eating habits, etc. So, when we are sick, we should not become passive or murmur against God, nor should we just focus on praying for God to heal us. Instead, we should continue to pray to God, take part in meetings and do service as we did before, becoming closer to God and truly obeying Him.
2. There is God’s good will behind the disease, so seeking the truth and obeying God are crucial.
Although disease comes from Satan, without the permission of God, Satan cannot do anything on us. Then why does God allow illness to come to us? What is God’s will? I saw God’s words say: “Sometimes things that look bad on the outside are not necessarily bad, and are actually good things. For example, you want to go out one day but you eat something that gives you a bad stomach, so you don’t go out, and as it happens a plague descends outside. Is this bad stomach a good thing or a bad thing? (A good thing.) How many days does it take an ordinary person with only a touch of a bad stomach, from eating spoiled food, to get over it? (Two or three days.) You must have three days of diarrhea, you cannot sleep well at night, your stomach hurts all the time, you alternate between needing the toilet and vomiting, and no matter what you take, don’t you still need to go through a process of recovery? In severe cases, how long will it take? (A week.) One week, and those with a weak constitution may take a fortnight and recover slowly, right? You can’t eat very much and what you do eat isn’t absorbed very well, so it could take ten days or a fortnight. You are kept at home for ten days or a fortnight, and you are perhaps unaware of any big events happening outside your door. When you are better, you go outside and look, and you say, ‘Ah! How have so many people died? What has happened?’ What has happened? God has acted and He has used this method to protect you. Is this method something that people expect normally? (No, it isn’t.) People don’t expect it. So when God does many things on you that you do not expect, you are unable to obey. What is your first reaction? Because you don’t expect it, you can’t understand it and you can’t accept it. Your first reaction is to resist and reject it, and you misunderstand, saying, ‘What’s up with that? I work well at my duties and yet something like this has happened to me. Doesn’t God know that I’m doing my duty? My work is so busy, how can He do this to me?’ You’re loyal and God doesn’t understand you, is that it? Is this a barrier between you and God? (Yes.) This is how your misunderstanding arises. If you took a different attitude, and said, ‘I don’t understand why God has done this or why He has arranged this, but it must certainly contain God’s good intention. To cause me such distress, what kind of good intention could God have? I don’t know and I don’t understand. But God can do no wrong, so I shall obey and I shall wait.’ So you wait, a fortnight passes by, you go outside and look, and you say, ‘Ah! How have so many people died? How is it that I’m still alive?’ You think it over, about how you’ve passed the last fortnight: ‘Ah, God has protected me. God has done this to protect my life and to keep me from this kind of disaster. He has placed a small obstruction in my path.’ Is this obstruction God’s good intention? (Yes.) It’s God’s good intention. Is it? (Yes.) God protects you in this way! So you don’t understand God and are always misunderstanding, and when you speak irresponsibly in situations that you don’t understand, what mistake are you making? (Judging God.) By judging God and defying God you really wound His heart. You see God’s good intention as an evil intention, you see His love as hatred, you complain about Him in your heart and you don’t understand Him. Does this wound God’s heart? (Yes.) Are there many instances like this? (Yes, many.) There are so many instances like this.”
We are all created mankind. All of us are short-sighted and cannot see through matters of the spiritual world. However, there is always God’s will hidden behind them. Therefore, when we do not understand God’s intentions, we often misunderstand Him and judge His work. Now we understand: When we are faced with illness and don’t know God’s will, we shall not judge Him; perhaps this is exactly how God cares for and protects us and is a way for us to escape from the disasters. So, we should learn to wait and seek when faced with illness. Meanwhile, we should also believe that no matter what God does, it is all His love and salvation. Let’s look back: Who, except God, can become flesh for the redemption of us and be eventually crucified until He died? Thus, it is really important to obey God and seek His will.
3. In the face of illness, we should quiet our heart before God, self-reflect on our transgressions, and confess and repent to God.
I have read the testimony of a brother who contracted asthma during a cold. He prayed for the Lord’s healing and said he was willing to accept the Lord’s trial, but he didn’t get better afterward. Although the pain caused by the sickness did not affect his confidence to follow the Lord, he was still afflicted with it. One year later, during a big gathering, one brother pointed out that he should not have had this kind of disease at such a young age, and advised him to reflect on himself. The brother talked to him twice, and then he began to reflect on himself. Finally, during a gospel preaching, the Holy Spiritenlightened him to realize that he always exaggerated the fact and gave further details when speaking, and that he did not have an honest heart. These corrupt dispositions are detested by God. After he realized this, he repented to God. At that night, his asthma was gone and it never came back again. Maybe we also have the same experience as this brother. There is indeed a lesson to be learned when we meet with sickness, and through which we can grow in life and be changed and purified.
God’s words also say: “I shall tell you: From this day forward you shall have no more diseases of the body. If ever some part of you feels unwell do not busy yourselves by looking for an external cause. Instead, come before Me and seek to know My intention—will you remember this? This is My promise: From this day forward you shall completely walk away from your physical body and into the spiritual world, that is, no longer will your body be burdened with illness.” “Do not lose heart in the face of illness, keep seeking and never give up, and God shall shine His light to you. How faithful was Job? Almighty God is an all-powerful physician! To dwell in sickness is to be sick, but to dwell in the spirit is to be well. If you have but one breath, God will not let you die.”
In order to cleanse us and help us to cast off our corruption, God not only leads us from the positive side, sometimes He also disciplines and refines us through disease and suffering. In such a way, God purifies and changes us, prevents us from offending God, suffering God’s abandonment and falling into Satan’s affliction. So, in the time of sickness, we should learn to pray to God and know His intentions, and examine ourselves. If it is because of our corruption that God disciplines us, then we should come before God with a truly repentant attitude. Only when we truly turn back to God will He listen to our prayers.
4. When faced with illness, we should not follow doctrine—not getting necessary treatment.
During illness we can visit doctors, and take medicine, it is justified; but we cannot just stick to the rules, not getting necessary treatment, so that we delay treatment, it is wrong. If the delayed treatment causes unnecessary consequences, it is due to our ignorance. But at the same time, we should not forget that we are Christians. So, when we see a doctor or take medicine, we should remember to obey the Lord’s sovereignty. We can pray like this: “God, I am just cooperating with You now by taking medicine and getting treatment. However, as to when this illness will take a turn for the better, it is all in Your hands. I will trust You and obey Your arrangements.”
In addition, sickness cannot delay our pursuit of truth; sickness cannot hinder us from serving and worshiping God; sickness cannot stop us from praying and attending meetings; sickness cannot make us lose faith in God. While we are ill, we should not only get treatment, but also seek God’s will and receive His good intentions. In this way we can overcome the temptations of Satan and bear testimony for God.
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Now, disasters are occurring frequently everywhere. In the Philippines, the pandemic and the famine have not passed yet and powerful Typhoon Molave, Goni and Tropical Storm Atsani have landed. Biblical prophecies of the coming of the Lord have been fulfilled. It stands to reason that the Lord has returned—so why have we yet to welcome His arrival? Will we not be plunged into the great tribulation if this carries on? And just what should we do to welcome the Lord’s coming?