Like many of you, I got the stomach virus that's going
around this year. After I began to feel better, I began
to wonder what good could come from the sickening experience.
Count It All Joy
It's hard to be happy about being sick when you can't eat.
And frankly, I didn't think about it until the worst had
One of the Scriptures that eventually came to mind was,
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various
trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces
endurance" (Jas. 1:2).
In the grand scheme of world events, a stomach virus is
nothing. But it's an event that can make you a better Christian
or a worse Christian. As God's children, we should use it
to bring about something good, rather than view it as a
All Things Work Together For Good
While going through the worst of the illness, it's hard
to think anything good can come from the experience.
But God causes all things to work together for good to
those who love the Lord (Rom. 8:28). When we start to feel
better, we should start looking for specific ways we can
become better Christians from experiencing the illness.
When we chose to use an illness for good, we can view it
positively rather than negatively, deciding to rejoice in
the Lord (Phil. 4:4).
So we rejoice as Paul commands, "And not only this, but
we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation
brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character;
and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint
. . ." (Rom. 5:3-5).
It Makes Us More Compassionate and Sympathetic
Besides losing the five pounds I've been trying to shed
for eighteen months, I found that I became more compassionate
and better able to sympathize with people.
As God's children, we're to be compassionate to others.
Paul says, "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy
and beloved, put on a heart of compassion . . ." (Col. 3:12).
When we experience trials, it reminds us of the difficulties
other people experience. Even if our affliction is relatively
small, experiencing trials makes us more compassionate and
sympathetic toward others.
It Makes Us More Humble
Sitting around the house, unable to do much more than watch
TV and sleep, is a humbling experience.
We are reminded of the human body's frailties. We have
no control over bodily ailments; rather, we totally depend
Humility is the most important virtue we possess. The
Bible says, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace
to the humble" (Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5). "Humble yourselves
in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you" (Jas.
4:6). "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand
of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting
all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you" (1 Pet.
It Makes Us Pray More
People naturally pray more when they're sick. But as Christians,
we're specifically commanded to pray when struck with illness
-- "Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray" (Jas.
Spending more time praying while sick reminds us of the
effectiveness of prayer, especially after we're well. "The
effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much"
And we're reminded how important it is to pray. "Rejoice
always; pray without ceasing" (1 Th. 5:16-17). "Therefore
humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He
may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety
on Him, because He cares for you" (1 Pet. 5:6-7).
It Makes Us Review Our Lives
Sometimes, God chastens us with trials. So it's good to
take stock of our lives when we're sick, to see if we're
living the way God commands.
To the Hebrews Paul said, "You have not yet resisted to
the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;
and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed
to you as sons, 'My son, do not regard lightly the discipline
of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for
those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges
every son whom he receives.' It is for discipline that you
endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is
there whom his father does not discipline" (Heb. 12:4-7)?
While we're reviewing our lives regarding God's commands,
it's also good to think about the road we're on as Christians.
Life is like a "vapor that appears for a little while and
then vanishes away" (Jas. 4:14). We need to be sure we're
making the most of our time, and not squandering our days
upon the earth (Eph. 5:16).
A Good Reminder
Enduring an illness reminds us that serving God is the most
important thing in life. Life is short and can end at any
time. We must serve God today, because tomorrow may never
We're also reminded that Christians must endure trials,
counting it all joy, rejoicing always in the Lord, knowing
that all things work together for those who love the Lord.