James Smith, 1842
"I am the Lord who heals you!" Exodus 15:26
In the seasons of sickness, we are too prone to look too much to the means, and place too great a dependence upon them. But the believer should view the Lord not only as the physician of the soul — but also of the body. Means should be used — but the Lord only should be looked up to as the Healer. When King Asa was diseased, he did not seek the Lord — but the physicians; and the Lord took it as an insult offered to His divine majesty. 2 Chronicles 16:12.
All medicines have their healing qualities from our God, and it befits us to look up to Him for His blessing upon all that we take. We never can trust God for too much, unless we despise the means which He usually blesses. When we look to Him, call upon Him, and place confidence in Him — we honor Him. His direction is, "Trust in Him at all times; pour out your heart before Him! God is a refuge for us." He loves to be acknowledged, consulted, and trusted.
He is your Healer, believer; He knows perfectly the nature of your illness, the remedies that are necessary — and waits to be called in to your relief. Call on Him first; look to Him principally; and give Him praise for intervals of ease, and all favorable symptoms. Look upon the physician and surgeon as His servants, and beseech Him to direct them. They are at best but feeble instruments, broken cisterns, or dry wells — without Him. If He blesses — their prescriptions are effectual; if He withholds — their endeavors are vain. How many are trusting to a great name, a skillful man, rather than trusting to the Lord; but He has said, "See now that I Myself am He! There is no god besides Me. I put to death — and I bring to life, I have wounded — and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand!" Deuteronomy 32:39. "I will heal you, and I will bring you health and cure."
Bodily sickness is often intended to be medicine
for the soul. The Lord designs by it . . .
to cleanse us from some idols,
to purge away our inordinate attachment to temporal things,
and bring us nearer to Himself.
The cares of the world have too much of our hearts, and occupy too much of our time; self-examination is neglected; secret prayer is shortened; and we can find but little time for any spiritual exercises. What base ingratitude — and yet how common! What folly — and yet how general! How loudly it calls for God's rod! How deeply it grieves a Father's love! Then the Lord comes and throws us on a bed of sickness, or confines us from our worldly employments — that we may find time for those things which involve His glory, and our best interests.
Have you, Christian, ever complained that you had not time to attend to things of a spiritual character? If so, look upon your present sickness as a visitation from the Lord to give you a little time for these employments. Make the most of these precious hours — now sow to the Spirit. Then, if spared to go back again into your worldly employments — you will be better prepared to engage in them. Or if called to an eternal world, you will receive life everlasting. Seek pardon — as well as healing; you deeply need it, and it is far more important than the return of health. But both shall be given if consistent with the Lord's glory — which above all things you should seek and desire. And if pardon is enjoyed, and health once more returns — you should cheerfully sing:
O bless the Lord, my soul;
Nor let His mercies lie
Forgotten in unthankfulness,
Or without praises die.
'Tis He forgives your sins,
'Tis He relieves your pain,
'Tis He who heals your sicknesses,
And makes you young again!