– Robert Murray McCheyne
Devotional: 7 Ways That Illness Can Bring You Closer To God
One of the most direct, palpable, and personally engaging challenges we could all face is illness. When things are reduced to a matter of life and death, things become clearer; things become black and white. This is especially important with regards to our relationship to God. Here are the seven ways illness can bring you closer to God:
Your Heart Is Open
When you have been diagnosed with an illness and things look bleak, a lot of the things that normally would keep your heart closed to new ideas and new insights have been blown away because a lot of that does not matter anymore. The front view would be your mortality, and when you get that moment of clarity, the doors of your heart are wide open. And when your heart is open, it is much easier for Jesus Christ to enter. It becomes much easier for you to get closer to God if you want.
Your Heart is Broken
The moment the doctors tell you that you only have a few months to live or you have this dreaded disease, you are probably going to face a tsunami of emotions. Eventually, a lot of your securities, a lot of the things that you placed a lot of pride in, and a lot of things that you drew a lot of comfort from get destroyed.
In many cases, the precise moment where we feel defeated and the precise moment where we feel vulnerable is precisely the moment we can choose to let Jesus fully occupy our hearts. What would otherwise had been a very demoralizing experience would be a moment of victory because, let us face it, human beings are prideful. It is very easy for us to fill our hearts with worthless things, like social status, wealth, and power. But when all those are blown away by an unwanted diagnosis or some sort of bad health news, we can replace all those things with Jesus Christ. In our humbleness, we can claim His greatness.
You Have an Opportunity To Trust God More
Of course, the number one human reaction to bad health news is to basically try to avoid it, try to fix it, or try to get over it; and it is not unusual for there to be a period of denial. But eventually, once you let it all sink in, you are really left with two options: You can choose to trust God more or You can choose to lose hope. The choice is yours. And when bad health news strikes, we have a golden opportunity to trust God; not necessarily to lift us out of any bad situation, but also possibly to give us a better blessing which is to basically change our character, and most importantly strengthen our relationship with Him. Because we have to understand that what saves you is not how long you live on earth, how many goodies you accumulate, or how highly people think of you. What saves you is your relationship with Jesus Christ.
All Other Distractions Begin to Fade
As I have mentioned above, it is easy to fill our hearts with things that do not really matter. It is easy to be surrounded by a confusing haze of distractions. When illness appears, those distractions fade and everything falls into perspective. you get a golden opportunity to realize what truly matters in your life. And guess what? It is no how much money you have, how good looking you are, or how highly people think of you. What matters is your relationship to Jesus.
You Realize First-Hand the Limitations Of Science
Do not get me wrong; science is great. Science can definitely help humans live better, but it’s also limited. In many cases people put so much pride and trust in science that it has basically become their god. When we are faced with debilitating or fateful illness, we realize first-hand the limits of human knowledge, the limits of human capabilities, and we are given an opportunity to trust God, the Author of life and the Creator of the universe.
Challenges Change Your Character
Challenges take many forms. Illnesses are just one of the forms which challenges can take. When you are facing a health challenge, you can be rest assured with the fact that it can be a gateway to changing your character. Why is this important? It’s because you cannot take your money with you to heaven. You cannot take your social status and awards with you to the hereafter. What you can take is your character. You can use the challenge posed by your ill or bad health to give you the urgency you need to give the Holy Spirit full permission to change your character.
Accepting God’s Will
Finally, illness can help bring us closer to God because it gives us the opportunity to accept His will. If His will is for our time to end, we really only have two choices: We can dock against it by blaming God, being angry with Him, and being bitter or We can accept it. When we accept, we live out our faith because faith must be based on trust; and when we accept God’s will, we are essentially saying to our Lord that we accept His will for us. We know deep down that He has the best in store for us by having the best interest in mind. It really boils down to a leap of faith in the end.