By God’s grace I am all better now, but I was sick last week. Normally, this would not be a big deal. I would just stay home, rest, boost my immunity, and drink some bone broth (you can find my recipe for it here.)
But being sick during a pandemic is… different. Every symptom was analyzed and scrutinized. My mind was spinning, always wondering, “Do I have THE virus? What if I do have the virus? What if I need to go to the hospital? What if I wake up and I can’t breathe?” But all of these questions compounded in one underlying question…
“Is God really in control?”
When I started asking these questions, I knew that I needed to check my heart and think. Being sick during a pandemic really challenged me so I want to share what I found with you.
Here are three ways to stay focused even when you’re sick.
1. Read Your Bible
Reading your Bible is an important part of staying focused while you’re sick. Even when our world is turned upside down, we can find hope, rest, and comfort in the pages of God’s Word. Even though you may not feel well, I would really encourage you to keep reading your Bible each and every day.
Maybe you can’t read all that you normally would, at least try to read a short passage or a Psalm. Or try listening to it while you are resting and recovering.
Remember that the Bible is our spiritual food and we need it daily to survive (1 Corinthians 3:2).
For more tips about reading the Bible, check out this post and this one too.
2. Read Theological Books
In addition to reading your Bible while you’re sick, you should also read books about God and the Bible.
When I was not feeling well, I made a point to be on social media less and reading devotional/theological books more. My phone is a constant temptation (more on that here), so when I got sick, I knew that I needed to safeguard my phone. I deleted several apps and downloaded some books to read instead (on my Kindle app and Logos app).
I have incorporated theological books as part of my daily reading for a long time now and I’m so thankful. While reading the Bible is the most important part of spending time with God and it always comes first, there are plenty of encouraging books and commentaries to read as well. If you’d like to see the books I recommend reading EVERY day, I wrote a post about them here.
3. Rest in God’s Sovereignty
First, What is God’s Sovereignty?
Just what is God’s sovereignty? This is a big word that means God has supreme power and authority over all the world and the events that happen therein.
The great theologian J. I. Packer explains it this way: “The assertion of God’s absolute sovereignty in creation, providence, and grace is basic to biblical belief and biblical praise. The vision of God on the throne—that is, ruling—recurs (1 Kings 22:19; Isa. 6:1; Ezek. 1:26; Dan. 7:9; Rev. 4:2; cf. Pss. 11:4; 45:6; 47:8–9; Heb. 12:2; Rev. 3:21); and we are constantly told in explicit terms that the Lord (Yahweh) reigns as king, exercising dominion over great and tiny things alike (Exod. 15:18; Pss. 47; 93; 96:10; 97; 99:1–5; 146:10; Prov. 16:33; 21:1; Isa. 24:23; 52:7; Dan. 4:34–35; 5:21–28; 6:26; Matt. 10:29–31). God’s dominion is total: He wills as He chooses and carries out all that He wills, and none can stay His hand or thwart His plans.” [Concise Theology, J. I. Packer, pg. 30]
Resting in God’s Sovereignty
Because God is fully in control of our lives, we can rest in His supreme authority over everything.
Even if the worst were to happen, I can trust that God will carry me through or carry me home. And, as simple as that sounds, it was very comforting for me when I was sick.
In retrospect, I really had nothing to worry about when I was sick. I am completely better and did not need hospital care. I even tested negative for Covid-19. But there were a few minutes, when I asked those questions, where my mind went to the worst-case scenario. (Please tell me you do this too?)
I could just see myself ending up in the hospital, needing a ventilator, and maybe even dying. But, God quelled those fears quickly with the reassurance that, even if that is what were to happen, it would be His sovereign plan, and that would mean it’s okay, it’s for my good.
The biggest shift in thinking about God’s sovereignty is remembering just how powerful God is. Do you really think that a virus, even though strong and maybe even deadly for some, can thwart our God’s plans? The God who brought the world into existence by His voice, who directs each of our lives, who has a sovereign plan of redemption and justice, Him?
When I remembered just how big God is, how He is sovereign, I had nothing to worry about and I could stop thinking through those awful worst-case scenarios.
It Really Works!
Now, hopefully I have convinced you of what you should do to stay focused if you are sick, but just in case I haven’t yet, here are two examples of how this really worked in my life!
When I started questioning God and His plan, I knew that I needed to go back to the Bible. And, wouldn’t you know, I read Psalm 93 while I was sick which talks all about God’s sovereignty. See for yourself:
“The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved. Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O Lord, The floods have lifted up their voice, The floods lift up their pounding waves. More than the sounds of many waters, Than the mighty breakers of the sea, The Lord on high is mighty. Your testimonies are fully confirmed; Holiness befits Your house, O Lord, forevermore.” Psalm 93:1-5
Wow, what a testimony to God’s complete sovereignty over our lives. His throne is established, His testimonies are fully confirmed, He is in control.
This is why it’s so important to have habits of reading the Bible ingrained in your life. So that even when you are faced with trial and sickness, you can fall back on the truths laid out for you in Scripture.
And if that wasn’t enough. I also read a little book by R. C. Sproul called, “What Can We Know About God?” And here is a quote that really encouraged me:
“I worry about tomorrow, and that is a sin. I worry about my health, and that, too, is a sin. We are not supposed to worry, but it is natural to worry about painful things and about the loss of things we value. We do not want to lose our loved ones, our health, our safety, or our possessions, but even if we do, God is working all things for our good. Even our sicknesses and losses in this world come under the providence of God, and it is a good providence.” [R. C. Sproul, What Can We Know About God? Pg. 67]
Did you get that? “Even our sicknesses and losses in this world come under the providence of God, and it is a good providence.” Praise God for working in our lives through hard times like illness.
I am sure the “good” from my sickness is that I learned to trust God. To ask questions of Him and He will answer in His Word and through others’ encouragement.
And, furthermore, these two examples just go to show God’s sovereignty over every tiny detail of our lives. He knew exactly what I needed to read while I was sick. He knew that my Bible reading plan would bring me to Psalm 93 when I was down. He planned that I would pick out that little book by Sproul and read it in its entirety.
How do I know that? Because that’s who God is! He is entirely in control of every little instance of my life. And Jesus told us so in Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” [Emphasis added].
So, friends, I hope and pray that you do not get sick. But, if you do, use these tips to stay focused on your Savior instead of your sickness.
*This post is not meant to discourage you from seeking medical care. If you are sick, please consult your physician for guidance.
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