They are all carefully selected — and divinely directed!
(James Smith, "The Sick Man's Prayer" 1864)
"Lord, he whom You love is sick!" John 11:3
"Look upon my affliction and my pain." Psalm 25:18
We are all liable to sickness — and sometimes the Christian seems to have the greatest share. Some of the Lord's people are seldom if ever well. They are never quite free from pain and suffering. Their heavenly Father sees that such a furnace is needful for them — He therefore prepares it, puts them into it, and keeps them there as long as He sees it to be necessary.
Diseases do not fly about at random. They are not left to 'chance'. They are all carefully selected — and divinely directed! God refines His people, displays His grace, and fulfills His precious promises — in the furnace of affliction. Sickness teaches us . . .
our dependence on God, and
our need of divine consolations
— in a way which nothing else will.
Sickness . . .
humbles our sinful pride,
weans us from the world,
brings us near to our heavenly Father's throne of grace,
leads us to seek a renewed sense of our Savior's pardoning love.
The Psalmist was afflicted, he suffered much, he looked up and he sighed, "Look upon my affliction and my pain!" He wished to realize that the Lord was observing him, that He was sympathizing with him, that He was attentive to him. He knew that the Lord's loving look would . . .
soothe his spirit,
cheer his heart,
and relieve his pain.
Let every sick believer therefore, adopt the Psalmist's course, let him use this brief but comprehensive prayer: "Look upon my affliction and my pain."