Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Can God get glory from our sickness?

ill person and visitor
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Job 19:13-29

"For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know
That in my flesh I shall see God
Whom I shall see for myself
And my eyes shall behold and not another
How my heart yearns within me!"  Job 19:25-27

The words of Job here are all the more poignant because he uttered them when he was sick.

Sickness is part of the evil that entered the world when Adam and Even sinned. Job is grappling with how to make sense of this illness while keeping his faith in God intact. He says (my paraphrase): 'No matter what happens to me, even if this illness kills me, I will keep trusting my Redeemer who lives beyond this world and whom I will one day see.'

A sidebar article in my Bible shines light on God as Redeemer in this passage: "The essence of 'redemption' centers on two truths: the recovery of that which is lost and the liberation of that which is bound." Focusing on the aspect of recovery of something lost, the writer goes on: "…To say that God is our Redeemer is to say that what has been lost (missed opportunity, lost time, a broken relationship) can be recovered in such a way that through His grace our ultimate destiny in Him is not jeopardized … He (Job) knew that ultimately God would restore in His way that which had been lost" Steven Fry,  New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 662 (emphasis in the original).

I am right now reading a book by a pastor who has an active healing, signs and wonders ministry. Though I understand his desire to see the miracles of Jesus and the New Testament church reenacted in our time and can say 'Amen' to much of what he has experienced and teaches, one idea he brings up often, troubles me. It is the thought that God is not glorified in our sicknesses (and therefore we are always justified to insist on healing).

What is God receiving if not glory from the mouth of very ill Job in our reading?  Job's example helps us soldier through times when prayers for physical wellness aren't answered. He's saying, in effect, 'This life is not all there is. God will redeem / restore ("in His way") in eternity if not on earth, all that I have lost by being sick. Meanwhile on earth my sickness may be one way God is preparing me (building character, perseverance, faith…) for my destiny in eternity (Matthew 19:28; Luke 19:17; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:10).

What do you think?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for being a Redeemer who not only ransoms me but has the power to restore all that evil, in its various guises, steals from me. Help me to have Job's unshakeable trust in Your existence and goodness. Amen.

MORE: Handel's Messiah Alert

Handel used words from Job 19:25-26 in his Messiah: "I know that my Redeemer lives" - Chorus 45.

Lynne Dawson sings "I Know that My Redeemer Liveth"


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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