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posted Sep 20, 2016, 1:07 PM by First Baptist

God has blessed me with excellent health. In fact, I haven’t had a sick day for over 20 years. (For any farmers reading this, a “sick day” is when somebody like me calls their office or employer to say they won’t be coming into work due to illness.)


Then, last Tuesday evening, I started coughing. The next day, the cough was worse and I felt extremely fatigued. The cough & fatigue continues right up to the present. This morning, I got up at my usual time, had devotions, and then went back to bed until 11:00. I plan to go home around 5 and fall right into bed.


This isn’t a play for your sympathy. What’s been interesting (at least to me) has been my reaction to being sick.


Early on, my thinking was “this will pass in a day.” I didn’t even pray about it, but just assumed I’d get better quickly. By Thursday, I was getting irritated. I have important things to do and this is slowing me down! On Saturday, I was anxious, wondering how I would ever be able to preach the next morning. I envisioned myself having a Hillary-like coughing fit and then collapsing to the ground.


It’s almost been like the stages of grief – denial, anger, depression & bargaining. Over the past week, I’ve done ‘em all! What sticks out is the resentment I felt at not being able to maintain my usual schedule. And I resented having to be concerned about the trivial matter of the strength of my voice on Sunday. Why would God not want His Word to be preached with power & authority?


It sounds funny, but this illness has been good for me. It’s been a necessary reminder that I’m not in control; God is – and His ways aren’t always understood. The illness also forced me to depend more on the Holy Spirit, especially when I stood up to preach on Sunday morning. I had no idea what would happen. Finally, it caused me to think of those in our church family who are suffering much more than I am, in some cases with chronic illness. I’ve been able to pray for them with a little more understanding and empathy.


CS Lewis famously wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain.” There’s a lot of truth in that.


Tim Keller added: The fact is, we understand many truths about God in our mind, but those truths seldom make the journey down into our heart except through suffering.


Pastor Dan