I know it sounds like a strange proclamation, but I will make it anyway. It is good, maybe even essential, for a preacher to be sick.
Over the recent President’s Day weekend, we made the trip up to our cabin and enjoyed a little snowmobiling and time with my dad. I wound up cutting down a couple of red oak trees that have died, and in the midst of cutting the second, large one, my sorel boots started to drag through the knee-deep snow.
I started sweating more, but it wasn’t until afternoon that I realized I had the start of the flu.
We were able to finish up the project, load up, and start for home, but as the temperature dropped outside, mine went up inside. All I began to dream about was taking a hot bath. My muscles were aching and the headache was beginning. About all I could think of was myself.
When our health is good, we really have to work at relating to those who are hurting. But when we are in the midst of sickness, our minds drift toward the sufferings of Christ naturally.
I found myself thinking of those who had no warm bath to look forward to. I thought about some who have no hope in this life of things improving, and thought about how easy it must be to get discouraged.
When I went to my office to try to study and found it very close to impossible to concentrate, I was reminded in a whole new way of how weak I really am.
Lord, I think it is good for a preacher to be sick once in a while. My heart hurts for those who are living in pain with no permanent solution here on earth.
Help me to remember how important a listening ear is when the sickness seems prolonged. Help me to be there to visit with an encouraging word from Scripture to feed the needy soul.
I am so glad we have a Savior who can relate to our weaknesses, since He also lived in a body of flesh. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet, was without sin.”
Jesus put on flesh to experience weakness, and it is good when the preacher gets sick so he, too, experiences what those he wants to minister to are experiencing.
May those of you who are sick right now feel great comfort in the fact that Jesus can sympathize with you.