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Reasons why Christians get sick

Dmitriy Zherebnenkov

I recently overhead a conversation where some believers were telling a sick person, “You sinned somewhere, thus you are sick.” You may have heard such things yourselves, but more likely you’ve also asked yourself this question, “How should we look at physical illnesses in others and ourselves?” Let’s consider a few reasons why ailments occur.

A result of the fall

Sickness, suffering, and death are a result of the fall (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12). This is why both unbelievers (Acts 12:21-23) and believers (1 Tim. 5:23; 2 Tim. 4:20) get sick. This is the general state of affairs since sin has come into the world.

This is why the apostle Paul writes that all creation groans, including us believers who wait for the redemption of our bodies, since the body carries in it the consequences of sin here on earth (Rom. 8:18-23).

For God’s glory

“…This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)

Looking at Scripture it is possible to find examples of sicknesses that directly serve to bring God glory. It is part of His plan that we’ll possibly only understand fully in eternity. But one thing is enough for us to understand—God will be praised through the illnesses of believers. This is not a lesser love but always a greater love! God allows for sicknesses because of a special love! Hear this if you are currently sick:

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” (John 11:5-6)

This speaks to God’s special love to this family to allow the illness to progress further. He doesn’t always give relief the moment we ask for it. Sometimes it takes years of waiting. Other times we may never know until perhaps eternity.

For the good of those who love God

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)

It’s hard to accept this reality that sicknesses can somehow serve us for our good, but it is true. As humans, we hardly see what goes on in the spiritual realm, and even when we do notice some things, we understand that God is achieving a thousand different goals even though only one or two are visible to us. This is why the apostle Paul concludes this chapter saying that nothing will separate us from the love of God—even sickness (Rom. 8:38-39).

For faith to shine brighter

Hebrews 11:32-38 talks about how some of the saints of old received certain things by faith, while others also by faith went through difficulties and sufferings. God can use faith to heal (Jas. 5:15), and He can use faith to help us make it through sufferings.

A result of sin

There are texts that connect sickness with man’s sin, but in every case this is clear to those who are sick (Jas. 5:14-16). Oftentimes this can be observed when a believer does not look upon Christ with faith (1 Cor. 11:29-30).

But even in this situation, the believer must understand that God’s punishment intends to bring about correction and preparation for eternity (Heb. 12:6). This is God’s love!

To seek for God

Periodically we find illnesses that are intended to bring a person to trust God more.

“In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians.” (2 Chron. 16:12)

The problem is not that he sought help from physicians. We find in the New Testament that Paul even recommends following various medicinal practices to manage ailments (1 Tim. 5:23). The problem of Asa was that he didn’t seek out God in his sickness. Searching for God in sickness is like nothing else in helping the believer go through suffering and illness.

Remember that God will at some point destroy any kind of sickness and pain: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)


Continue supporting the churches working among the people who have suffered from the war in
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Scripture Memory Text

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:14-16

Below are the services and meetings for this weekend:

  • Thursday (7:00 PM) – Passion Thursday: Combined service with Communion.
  • Saturday (8:00 – 9:30 AM) – Men’s prayer breakfast
  • Sunday services:
    • Worship Service in Russian at 9:00 AM
    • Worship Service in English at 11:15 AM

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