I am not seriously ill. Don’t let the title mislead you. But, over the weekend I came down with a terrible case of strep throat. I had a class in Louisville on Friday and Saturday, and thanks be to God, I was fine for both of those days. But, as soon as I got home on Saturday night, I could sense that something wasn’t right. I went to bed that night only to awake at 2 am with the worst chills, body aches and a raw throat. In my five years as Senior Pastor of my church, I’ve never missed a Sunday due to illness. That streak, however, is now over. Thankfully, my associate was already scheduled to preach. So, I prepared a few things for him and he took over. I heard he did a great job.

This has been one of the worst illnesses I’ve had in recent memory. Thankfully, I normally don’t get sick, but when I do, it’s usually pretty bad. But, the Lord has taught me some things during this bout with sickness and I want to share those things with you.

  • Christ is my unshakable foundation. When I am sick, I don’t feel spiritual at all. The body affects the spirit. When my body is sick, my spirit is sick too. I don’t feel like praying, reading Scripture or even thinking about spiritual things. I get all wrapped in myself and throw the most wonderful pity parties. This is why I am so thankful for Jesus, because I know that my right standing with God doesn’t rest upon my spirituality at any given moment. My right standing with God rests upon the unshakable foundation of Christ and what He accomplished at Calvary.
  • God will never leave me. I was gone last Friday and Saturday because I had a class; which meant, I was away from my little girl, Emma, for about 36 hours. It’s the longest we’ve been apart since she’s been born. Then, when I do get home, I am sick. And since I have strep throat, I cannot touch her. I wouldn’t wish this illness on my worst enemy, let alone my beloved daughter. It was painful telling her that Daddy couldn’t hold, touch, hug or kiss her. There were moments when she desperately wanted my affection, but, for her sake, I just couldn’t risk it. During this time, I was reminded that my Heavenly Father is never restricted in His care for me. He’s always there to love and comfort me in my distress. He can’t get sick or tired. When I need Him, He’s there and I am so grateful for that promise.
  • Scripture can strengthen a weary soul. I told you that I don’t feel spiritual when I am sick, but I have been doing some reading. Yesterday, I read selected passages on the topic of suffering. I know I wasn’t being persecuted for my faith, but I was suffering. The Bible teaches some wonderful truths about God’s purposes in suffering. Suffering produces character, perseverance, compassion and nearness to God. I was strengthened by God’s Word. As my inner man felt renewed, for a moment, I felt the outer man strengthened as well.

While I don’t like to be sick, I do know God works through every circumstance I face. I am grateful that even through this illness He’s still teaching me. Think about your recent hardships. How has God been teaching you? Are you listening and looking for His instructions? Dive into His Word and keep an open mind, because God loves to teach His people through pain and hardships.