The last few months have been a season of health challenges for our family. All five of us have struggled with one thing or the other. Sickness comes with kinds of challenges and frustrations. It disrupts your life and wears you down. Then you get tired and frustrated with feeling lousy. However, sickness is a forced opportunity to press the pause button, step back from the routine of life and reflect on your life. Let me share a few points of reflection.
Our bodies are frail.
The human body is a complex organism. Its mechanism has been the source of study for centuries, yet this complex machine is frail. It is incredible how strong and energetic bodies can be rendered weak and powerless by a bout of sickness to the point of failing to stand and walk on their own. This frailty ultimately leads to our death as our breath eventually gives way. It is this frailty that led Job to exclaim, “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.” (Job 14:1-2)
Sickness makes you appreciate health.
Ideally, we all should be grateful for good health, but unfortunately, we take it for granted and just assume that we will wake up and go about our day without a fuss. Because we presume good health, we are rarely grateful for it. Sickness, therefore, can knock us out of our comfort zone; it reminds us that sound health is not a guarantee. Something about being bedridden makes you thankful even for the slightest bit of good health.
We are dependent and vulnerable beings.
The irony of human beings is our desire and attempt to be independent. In our pride, we even entertain the illusion of independence, but the reality is that we were created to be entirely dependent on God and interdependent on fellow people. God created us to be dependent, and God alone is the all-sufficient one, and in Him, we are made complete. He also created us as social beings. No wonder we are born into families and live within a community; even the church is designed to be a family, a community of believers living together. There is a blessedness to biblical dependence on God and the community. Sometimes, it takes sickness to remind you to appreciate the community.
Being weak and bedridden makes you vulnerable and in desperate need of help. Being needy is in the nature of imperfect, dependent beings. Granted, a person can be abused by other people, but the truth still stands that dependency and vulnerability are a part of the package of God’s creation of man. This vulnerability gives other people a chance to minister to you as they sympathise and empathise with your situation and show kindness to you. It is self-centeredness that will cause someone to abuse this blessing, and it is pride that will cause one to pretend and appear self-sufficient.
Psalm 103 has greatly encouraged my soul. Hear the words of David:
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.