By Dr. Mary Logan
Have you ever been extremely ill? If so, have you ever asked yourself what God wanted to teach you through your illness?
In November 2010, I arrived safely in Cape Town, South Africa around 11 p.m. Missionaries Bob and Jackie Braswell met me at the airport and took me to their guest house. The next day we ate a delicious meal at an established restaurant in the mall. The following morning around 6:30, I awoke with extreme nausea and diarrhea. I don’t remember ever vomiting so much. Even the small amount of Coke I drank to settle my stomach did not help.
Was the illness due to the food I had eaten? Was it caused by the tap water? Was there another cause? That Saturday was a miserable day physically yet a wonderful day spiritually. As I contemplated what God wanted to teach me through this illness, the following areas came to mind:
1. Learning to have compassion for others who have needs. When all is well with us, sometimes we forget how badly people feel when they are sick or when they have problems.
2. Depending on God’s healing power. Divine healing is provided for in the atonement. The prophet Isaiah said, “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:4–5, emphasis added).
3. Allowing others to serve me during my illness. God blesses you and them through their service. Missionary Jackie Braswell so graciously took care of me.
4. Spending time meditating on God’s Word and thoroughly basking in His presence. We were scheduled to take a trip to Cape Point and to see the penguins on the beach. However, the illness took precedence over these plans. In essence, God gave me a special time with Him to prepare spiritually for the Global University course I came to facilitate for Cape Theological Seminary.
5. Allowing God to speak to me through songs. Because music has always been a part of my life, God frequently reminds me of songs I have learned. One song God brought to my mind during the illness was Dottie Rambo’s “I Will Glory in the Cross.” It reminded me of the Scripture verse, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
Did I glory in the cross of Christ, or did I glory in my own works? As a believer, did I live every day with a sensitive awareness of the cross of Christ?
What do you think it means to “glory in the cross”? What has God taught you through an illness?
Mary Logan, Ed.D., is a Course Development Specialist and Professor of Business and Education at Global University. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.