Living in a world full of disease and death
(J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel of
"Lord, the one You love is very sick." John 11:3
True Christians may be sick and ill as well as
others. We read that Lazarus was one "whom
Jesus loved." Yet Lazarus was sick, even unto
death! The Lord Jesus, who had power over all
diseases, could no doubt have prevented this
illness, if He had thought fit. But He did not
do so. He allowed Lazarus to be sick, and in
pain, and weary, and to languish and suffer
like any other man.
The lesson is one which ought to be deeply
engraved in our memories. Living in a world
full of disease and death, we are sure to
need it some day.
Sickness, in the very nature of things, can never
be anything but trying to flesh and blood. Our
bodies and souls are strangely linked together,
and that which vexes and weakens the body can
hardly fail to vex the mind and soul.
But sickness, we must always remember, is no
sign that God is displeased with us; no, more,
it is generally sent for the good of our souls.
It tends to draw our affections away from this
world, and to direct them to things above.
It sends us to our Bibles, and teaches us to pray better.
It helps to prove our faith and patience, and
shows us the real value of our hope in Christ.
It reminds us that we are not to live always, and
tunes and trains our hearts for our great change.
Then let us be patient and cheerful when we are
laid aside by illness. Let us believe that the Lord
Jesus loves us when we are sick, no less than when
we are well.