Sick to the point of death, by Rick Laing

We have all been at the bedside of a loved one who is a Christian, and the thought has crossed our mind about why God allowed such to happen. Perhaps we think sometimes we are the only ones to suffer and we may even put it down to our lack of faith or a result of personal sin. There are many difficult questions in this regard, but what if I could show you a hard working faithful Christian who was highly commended in the Bible who was really ill? I can.

Paul, when writing to the Philippians, mentions Epaphroditus, Phil. 2:25. Paul called him a brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who was a messenger and minister to Paul’s need. “For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow” Phil. 2:27. He also writes: “because he came close to death for the work of Christ” Phil. 2:30.

Why didn’t Paul heal him? Because that power was not for personal use, but in order to confirm the word. Mk. l6:20, Heb. 2:3. “But God had mercy” suggests Paul prayed for him. Even the very best of faithful Christians become ill. Pray for them.

Request God’s mercy so that they can recover. Epaphroditus was seriously ill in the presence of Paul the Apostle. Being a Christian does not guarantee a disease free life. But remember this: God loves you and He listens to prayer. James 5:16.

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