Can You Handle Severe Disease?

In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet.  His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek Yahweh, but the physicians (2 Chron 16.12).

Despite King Asa’s successes (2 Chron 15) his eulogy could not be more sad: “His disease was severe, but he still did not seek God.”  So after two fist-shaking years he died in the shadow of his physicians, but under the wrath of God (2 Chron 16.13).

In no way do I suggest dismissing help from doctors and their technologies.  I do suggest we be very careful about why we seek them and how much trust we put in them.  Seeking God does not stand over against seeking physicians’ help.  It does stand above it, however.  That was Asa’s demise.  He sought the physicians instead of God rather than under God.  He suffered what Jeremiah warned against: “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD” (Jer 17.5).  Asa’s affliction was designed by God to make him seek God, but he did not.  He put his trust and hope in his physicians, who were impotent against Asa’s real disease.

I can sit over God’s word and leave unaffected, but I’ve never left the doctor’s office unaffected.  This ought not be.  I don’t suggest become mystics or stoics.  If we love life we will undoubtedly be affected by a doctor’s news.  But, we must be more affected by God’s Good News.  Love health, but love heaven more.  Love medicine, but love resurrection more.  Consult your doctor, but retreat to the gospel.  Google your affliction, but memorize Scripture.

God’s help might very well come through doctors.  But it might also come despite them.  His help might even be at odds with the doctors’.  Maybe God will prevent medical answers so we will seek God’s Spiritual provision (see Mk 5.25-34).  We remain absolutely confident in God, who reads and remedies the heart, and less confident in doctors, who can only read charts and remedy the body.

God intends your disease (severe or not) to be a catalyst for seeking him.  He may or may not cure you.  In fact, he ultimately won’t in this life.  He will let you die despite every guarantee of the world’s finest physicians.  God sees to it we face the depth our sin, either now in faith and/or later in death.  Will we die with disappointed faces as though we’ve been duped?  Or will we rejoice that God promises to all in Christ:  “Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits” (Is 26.19)?

Is it me or do my feet hurt all the sudden?

8 thoughts on “Can You Handle Severe Disease?

  1. Excellent treatise into this oft decried aspect of our fallen but redeemed world.

    Should be the introduction to your book… that you’re going to write… soon.

    1. Just what the world needs: another hair-brained book by a naive pastor who knows nothing about everything. But thanks all the same.

  2. I was thinking about James 5:13-16. Never does it mention to seek out some new medical discovery concerning your current illness, but rather to seek God through prayer and place your trust in Him. We’ve recently been blessed at SHBC to see the truth of God’s Word manifested, (his great compassion and mercy for his children despite ourselves) when He answered our prayers concerning our dear sister. Take care, brother. We love and miss y’all!

    1. We love you and miss you all more, I assure you. We thank God for sharing in his power with you, my brother. I cherish our time together.

  3. Pastor,
    Seeking first the kingdom of God should be the Christian’s attitude and response in every situation. God’s good gift of medical advances is a magnificent grace to the righteous and unrighteous alike. Thank you for reminding me that healing is still and has always been in God’s hands and not the hands of men.

  4. Pray for healing, but still take Motrin if you have 102 fever.

    I pray for healing, but when called for, I also pray that God would give the doctor skill and discernment to properly diagnose the problem!

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