I am sure that I am not the only person who has heard the phrase: “This happened to you because you did not have enough faith.” In fact, I know I am not the only one if you read the prior blog posts by the father and son combo of Bob and Ben Trube. So this week’s message was one that brought up some old wounds yet it was good to understand that I am not alone in how I feel toward sickness in this world.
The concept of sickness has always been a touchy subject for me. So when Rich began preaching last Sunday on this topic the first thing that came to mind was my grandmother. She had passed away quite a few years back now from cancer. It was a sad time for my family and I and we all still miss her dearly. She was a fantastic example of love and kindness and she always seemed to have a smile on her face even through the toughest battle of her life.
When she passed away the loss I felt was difficult enough but I will still never forget the day when I overheard someone telling my dad that my grandma had passed away because she did not have enough faith! I was outraged. I will never forget that moment. I didn’t hear my dad’s reaction but I remember mine…it was one of anger and flowing tears.
As I have had time to reflect situation I realize that the person who said this was just wrong. Sickness is in the world because of sin. Plain and simple. But it does not mean if someone gets sick that it is because they sinned. I don’t think that we can do anything about it sometimes. It is just a part of life. We get sick. We may die because of it. But it does not mean if we do that God was punishing us or we did not have enough faith to live.
Sickness just happens. We live in a fallen world.
My Grandma was one of the strongest examples of a Christian that I know. Her care for those in her family, her love for children around the world on mission trips with my grandpa and her joy in worshiping God are things that still stand out to me and I would be honored to be seen on the same faith level as her.
So what can we do? First, I think we must stop having this attitude that sickness is because we did something wrong or didn’t have enough faith. Second, we must know that sometimes we just get sick. Third we must care for the sick well. We need to stop shaming the sick and viewing them as second class. They are our equals because we are all human and created by God. The ministry of presence may be the best thing we can do. Sometimes there are no words to make things better. Just be there with those who are sick and care for them and the family. Lastly, share the good news. That this life is not the end. There is something more. Something better. A place where there is no sickness. No pain. No death. That is something we all can rejoice in.