God and the Reality of Sickness

Every day, we are sadly reminded that we live in a flawed world. And one of the most evident flaws is sickness.

As a Christian, I do not believe this is how God created this world. Now we do see much evidence of God’s amazing acts of creation. But I also believe that as humans turned from God and sought their own way, sin entered our world. And God’s perfect creation was inundated with the flaws you and I see and experience.

The more we know about things that cause disease, like bacteria and viruses, the more we realize that there was likely a very good reason for them being part of God’s creation. For example, we know the vast majority of bacteria are either harmless or helpful, and some are even necessary. There may be a similar case made for those mysterious bits of DNA known as viruses as we learn more about them.

But some are indeed harmful, or like the coronavirus, cause bodies to do self-harm. And I have no better explanation for this than to recognize that we live in a fallen world. It is a world where distortion of God’s creation is a reality. It is evident in lives of people created in God’s image that are distorted by sin. It is evident in creation warped and twisted to bring harm.

I do not believe that sickness is a tool God uses to punish individuals for individual sin, although we do know that certain behaviors that are not good for us can also make us more susceptible to illness.

I do believe that God can and does heal. Often He heals through amazingly creative and tenacious medical professionals. But sometimes He heals without explanation. And sometimes He does not choose to heal our bodies.

For me, as a believer and as a cancer survivor, I have simply realized that sickness and even death is not the worst that can happen to me. And I look forward to eternity with my Lord. (Rev. 21:4) Is that easy to say to those questioning God and the reality of sickness? No. And I do not say it flippantly, but I believe it to be true.

“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.” Revelation 21:4 ESV

In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd

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