Sickness and the people of God
Recently, my family had a bout with sickness. It completely shut us down for almost two weeks as we recovered and sought to be wise in the climate we find ourselves in. Sickness is not something new. I will admit that I am a horrible patient, and I truly do stand by the fact that the “man flu” is real. This time, though, the sickness hurt a little more.
It was not the symptoms or the fact that we all did not feel well that grieved me the most. We as a family missed the loss of fellowship. Over the course of our sickness, we had to miss worship with our church family. I missed meetings with people in the community that I was looking forward to making. Our son missed going to school and learning about God and interacting with his classmates. My wife missed women’s ministry opportunities.
Now, I know that people miss activities all of the time for various reasons, and please don’t hear me say that there aren’t valid reasons to do so. I would argue that preventing the spread of a virus is a very valid reason to miss worship. That being said, it pained me to be away from the church and from the fellowship of others.
We truly enjoy fellowship with the people of God. It is why I went into ministry in the first place. I love preaching, teaching, and studying God’s word with God’s people. I love interacting with others as we seek to sharpen one another as Proverbs 27:17 calls us to.
Over the course of the pandemic, we as a culture have become more isolated than ever before. Maybe you find yourself depressed, anxious, worried or feeling a sense of helplessness. These could be warning lights that you need time with others. Now we cannot change the climate or the way things currently are. This may mean that what I am saying you need, you may not be able to get right now. But, let’s think about this for a moment. Because these indicators could be pointing to something else. Maybe you feel the way you do not because you are lacking fellowship with others but are lacking fellowship with God.
I personally work best in a structured setting. Those that know me best know that improv is one of my most feared words. I love preparing for sermons and Sunday school lessons. Each week, I am driven to scripture as a necessity of my job. But if I can be honest with you, my commitment to the word of God has been lacking while I have been sick. I haven’t found myself reaching for the scriptures like I normally do. And I sure have felt it. I believe that part of my angst and being downcast is coming from separation from God. It may be terrible for me to admit this as a minister but that’s where I am. I’m sure some of you can relate to that.
Whether you are feeling like I am due to sickness, the quarantine, or simply due to the situations you find yourself in due to the direction of the world around us, I encourage you to do two things.
First, go to the Lord in prayer and admit it. Admit your struggles. Admit where you are lacking. Trust that God will care for your needs like a loving Father. Philippians 4:19 promises us “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
And secondly, go to his Word and listen to Him. May I suggest the words of Psalm 71 to reflect on today? Sickness can bring out the worst in a situation. But it can also be a catalyst to help us remember our need for the Savior.
My prayer for you today is that you are enjoying fellowship with him and, if able, are gathering with fellow brothers and sisters to walk alongside each other. Being a Christian means living in a community with one another. There is no replacement for that. Heaven itself will be a community of like-minded people worshiping and enjoying God for all eternity.
Until then, love God and love one another.
Pastor Aaron Suber