When You’re Sick
by Robert C. Veil, Jr.
I was sick with a head cold last week, and I very much appreciate Don Deitrick teaching
the adult class and preaching for me Sunday morning. I also appreciate Dick Bartrug for preaching
in the evening. It’s reassuring to know that we have sound, capable brethren who can do an
excellent job filling in when needed. Sometimes when I am sick I have time to think about different
things, and I thought I would share with you a few of those random thoughts in this article.
When I am sick, I appreciate having family and loved ones close at hand. By “close at hand”
I don’t necessarily mean in the same room! Sometimes when you’re sick, you need to be left alone
to get some rest! But it sure is comforting to know that loved ones are close. I feel sorry for those
who do not enjoy the blessing of family close at hand, or the close connections which come with
membership in the Lord’s church. We are truly the family of God, and when a brother or sister gets
down or needs help, that’s when all of us pitch in. What a blessing to know that we have brothers
and sisters ready to help in time of need. As Paul commanded the Galatians, “Bear ye one another’s
burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ,” (Gal. 6:2).
When I first get sick, I tend to worry about all of the many things I have to do, and the
various jobs which aren’t going to get done. When I had my own law practice for 19 years, I
dreaded getting sick, because any time away from the office meant extra work piled up for me
when I returned. Those concerns must have carried over when I went to the State’s Attorney’s
Office, because during my 12 years there I did not use a single sick day. But upon reflection, we
realize that we are not as irreplaceable as we think! Like I mentioned above, we have very capable
brethren here who can step in and fill the gaps as needed. It is reassuring, and a little humbling, to
be reminded that this old world will get along quite fine without us!
Having said that, I think each of us should remember that we have a vital part to play in the
body of Christ. Each of us is needed, and our talents are missed when we are away. “And the eye
cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee: or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
Nay, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be more feeble are necessary,” (1
Cor. 12:21-22). If you think that no one notices when you miss services, you need to reconsider.
Like Jonathan said to David, “thou wilt be missed, because thy seat will be empty,” (1 Sam. 20:18).
I know we don’t have assigned seats in the auditorium, but isn’t it true that we can easily notice
when brothers and sisters miss?
I don’t know about you, but when I am sick, things look a lot darker than they really are.
It’s like trying to evaluate all of life’s issues in the darkest, gloomiest hours of the night. It’s not a
good time to do that, because we are not thinking as clearly as when our perspective is better. We
also need to give some leeway and patience to those who are dealing with pain and sickness, and
who consequently demonstrate a more pessimistic outlook on things. In our encouraging and
exhorting of one another, let us remember that not everyone feels as good as we do, and people
are struggling with burdens and difficulties of which we may not even be aware.
When I am sick I feel distant and removed, as though the whole world is going on merrily
without me. I think about our shut-ins who have been unable to attend services in months. Are
they discouraged? I can certainly understand if they are. It is challenging to be removed from the
assemblies for an extended period of time, and still keep a bright, optimistic outlook on life. Maybe
we can do a better job of staying in touch with and encouraging our shut-ins. I am glad we are
sending cards and notes of encouragement, and we need to continue remembering them in prayer.
They are listed each week on our prayer list.
Being sick can help us long for recovery, for feeling well again. “And he shall wipe away
every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor
crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away,” (Rev. 21:4). Ultimately, for those
who are dealing with chronic pain and terminal illness, being sick can help us to visualize and
look forward to our eternal home, where there is no sickness anymore.
When You’re Sick
When You’re Sick