How Should Christians Experience Illness?
Relevant Words of God:
What is the source of the lifelong suffering from birth, death, illness, and old age that humans endure? What caused people to have these things? Humans did not have them when they were first created, did they? Where, then, did these things come from? They came into being after humans were tempted by Satan and their flesh became degenerate. The pain of human flesh, its afflictions, and its emptiness, as well as the extremely miserable affairs of the human world, only came once Satan had corrupted mankind. After humans were corrupted by Satan, it began to torment them. As a result, they became more and more degenerate. The diseases of humanity grew more and more acute, and their suffering became more and more severe. Increasingly, people sensed the emptiness and tragedy of the human world, as well as their inability to go on living there, and they felt less and less hope for the world. Thus, this suffering was brought down upon humans by Satan.
Excerpted from “The Significance of God’s Tasting of Worldly Suffering” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Almighty God, the Head of all things, wields His kingly power from His throne. He rules over the universe and all things, and He is in the act of guiding us on the whole earth. We shall at every moment be close to Him, and come before Him in quietness, never missing a single moment, and with lessons for us to learn at all times. Everything, from the surrounding environment to people, affairs, and things, all exist by permission of His throne. Do not on any account let grievances arise in your heart, or God will not bestow His grace upon you. When sickness befalls, this is God’s love, and surely His kind intentions are harbored within. Though your body may undergo a bit of suffering, entertain no ideas from Satan. Praise God in the midst of illness and enjoy God in the midst of your praise. Do not lose heart in the face of illness, keep seeking again and again and do not give up, and God will illuminate you with His light. How was Job’s faith? Almighty God is an all-powerful physician! To dwell in sickness is to be sick, but to dwell in the spirit is to be well. So long as you still have one breath, God will not let you die.
We have within us the resurrected life of Christ. Undeniably, we lack faith in the presence of God: Would that God would put true faith within us. Sweet indeed is the word of God! God’s word is potent medicine! It puts to shame the devils and Satan! Grasping God’s word gives us support. His word acts fast to save our hearts! It dispels all things and sets all at peace. Faith is like a single log bridge: Those who cling abjectly to life will have difficulty in crossing it, but those who are ready to sacrifice themselves can pass over, sure of foot and worry-free. If man harbors timid and fearful thoughts, it is because Satan has fooled them, afraid that we will cross the bridge of faith to enter into God. Satan is trying by every way possible to send us its thoughts. We should at every moment pray for God to illuminate us with His light, at every moment rely on God to purge Satan’s poison from within us, practice within our spirit at every moment how to come close to God, and let God have dominion over our whole being.
from “Chapter 6” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh
How should the onset of sickness be experienced? You should come before God to pray and seek to grasp His will, and examine just what it is that you did wrong, or what corrupt dispositions there are within you that you cannot resolve. You cannot resolve your corrupt dispositions without pain. People must be tempered by pain; only then will they cease to be dissolute and live before God at all times. When faced with suffering, people will always pray. There will be no thought of food, clothing, or fun; in their hearts, they will pray, and examine whether they have done anything wrong during this time. Most of the time, when people are beset by serious illness or some unusual sickness, and it causes them great pain, these things do not happen by accident; whether you are sick or healthy, God’s will is behind it all. Ordinarily when the Holy Spirit works, you feel everything is fine. When you are in good health, you are able to seek God, but at the onset of hardship, you are not, nor do you know how to. You merely live amid sickness, thinking only of how you can be cured so that you can get over it more quickly. At such times you envy those who are without illness, and you wish to escape this sickness as soon as you can—this is a negative and antagonistic mood. Sometimes, people think to themselves, “Was this illness caused by my own stupidity, or is God’s will behind it?” Some sicknesses are normal, like when you catch a cold or suffer from excessive internal heat, or you have the flu. But with any serious illness—when you are struck down with sickness, and when, out of nowhere, life becomes unbearable—that kind of sensation or illness does not happen by accident. At the onset of illness or pain, do you pray to God and seek God? And does the Holy Spirit merely enlighten and illuminate you? This is not the only way He works. How does God test people? Is it not through making them suffer pain? Where there are trials, there is pain—how could people suffer without trials? And how could people change without suffering? When trials are accompanied by pain, this is the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes God gives people pain, or else they would be unaware of heaven’s heights or earth’s depths, and they would become insolent. In some matters, merely relying on fellowshiping on the truth will not solve the problem. Other people point out your problem to you, and you yourself are aware of it, but you are unable to change. No matter how you rely on your willpower to exercise self-restraint, perhaps even going so far as to slap yourself about the face and knock yourself about the head, it still does not solve the problem, for your nature still exists within you. This thing is alive, it is like the living thoughts of man, and it can appear at any time. So what can you do if it cannot be solved? People must be refined by certain illnesses, and when they are, there are those who cannot bear the torment and begin to pray and seek. Before you get sick, you are dissolute and insolent, but sickness makes you well-behaved. Could you still be insolent? When your every word is feeble, could you still lecture people, could you still be arrogant? At such times, you ask for nothing, only for the pain to end, and you give no thought to what to eat, what to wear, what to enjoy. Most of you have yet to experience such a feeling. When you have, you will understand. Today, there are people who always fight for this or that; none of them have suffered enough, they have no self-respect. They all await hardship and refinement!
Sometimes God puts you in certain situations, or uses certain people to deal with you, to make you feel upset, to teach you a lesson; this is the work God does today, this is one aspect of it. Another aspect is that God brings pain upon your flesh. It is like how Paul always said there was a thorn in his flesh. What thorn was he talking about? It was sickness. He knew all too well what his sickness was all about: It was down to his disposition, his nature. Without this thorn, if he were not beset by illness, then at any time, at any place, he would be liable to try to establish his own kingdom, but when he fell sick, he lost the energy to do it. And so, sickness is most often a “protective umbrella” for people. If you were not sick, if you were in fine fettle, perhaps you would go on to commit some evil, or do some harm. When you are insolent and dissolute, you are liable to become unreasonable, and when you cause trouble, you will regret it, and what happens will no longer be up to you. A little illness is therefore a good thing, it protects people. It could be that you become able to solve other people’s difficulties and can also solve the problems with your own thinking. If your illness does not get better, then there is nothing you can do about it. When you get sick, it is really not up to you. When you get sick and it does not get better no matter what you do, then this pain is your due, so do not try to escape it. You must pray, seek, and submit, and you must seek for God’s intentions: “O God! I know that I am corrupt, that my nature is bad, that I am liable to do things that rebel against and oppose You, things that bring You pain and hurt, so it is good that You have given me this illness. I should submit to it. But I ask that You enlighten me, that You allow me to know Your will, and make me understand what You would change and perfect about me. I ask only that You guide me, that You allow me to understand the direction of the path of human life, that You allow me to understand this truth.” You must seek and pray. Do not muddle along, thinking, “It’s nothing. I definitely haven’t offended God.” Do not jump to conclusions so lightly. If God is truly in your heart, then you will not let go of whatever befalls you. You will pray and seek, you will grasp God’s will in everything that happens, and when God sees how obedient you are, He will gradually lessen your pain.
Excerpted from “See All Things Through the Eyes of Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks