Sickness For The Glory Of God?

“This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” (John 11:4)

The Bible repeatedly teaches us that God is to be glorified in everything in our lives (I Corinthians 10:31 et al).  Here Jesus indicates that He is to glorified even in our infirmities.

He said that Lazarus’ sickness was “SO THAT (indicating the purpose) the Son of God may be glorified by it.” This sickness was for the purpose of His glory. In THIS particular illness, Jesus was glorified by raising Lazarus from the dead after he expired due to it. Other times in scripture, Jesus was glorified by healing the person while they still lived.  While there are abundant examples of this, many wrongly believe that physical healing is the only way that God can be glorified through our illnesses, but this is an errant belief.

The Lord may also glorified in sickness through the patient suffering of His child which testifies to the presence of His Spirit in their heart; through the testimony of faith they maintain for Him while they are sick; as well as through the power that He may pour through a weak child despite their physical weakness (Paul in II Corinthians 12:7-9 for example).  It is our responsibility, during whatever time of illness the Lord might allow for us, to glorify God in whichever of these ways He chooses to honor Himself:

— Glorify Him if this is the illness through which He will ultimately call you to Himself, by courageously facing death, and confidently sharing your faith in eternal life with your Heavenly Father.
— Glorify Him if He chooses to heal you of your illness, and let many others know of His goodness to you.
— Glorify Him if He allows you to continue in an illness without healing, by sharing the lessons you have learned in the refining fire of suffering, and by letting Him use you to minister to others in the powerful way which only His Holy Spirit can through a surrendered vessel.

Whichever of these God may allot to us, this verse is a great reminder that our purpose in life is for God to be glorified in EVERYTHING — and that even includes our sicknesses and infirmities.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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2 Responses to Sickness For The Glory Of God?

  1. brittanilowe says:

    Hey I just want to say I love all of these posts you make, you’re doing the Lord’s work that’s for sure! Also, I found your blog by searching something about POTS in google and it took me to your post in Nov/Dec 2012 about your medication making you sick. I also have POTS and was wondering how you’re doing and if the exercise has made a difference. I also got kinda excited finding someone else with the same thing I have, it’s just nice having someone to relate to. I will definitely bookmark your blog and keep checking back for more posts. Im also looking forward to hearing from you.

    God Bless!

    • Shawn Thomas says:

      Hey Brittani; thanks for writing. It’s encouraging to know that people are reading and that the Lord is using the blog. As to my POTS, I have indeed been able to come back, and am serving full-time as a pastor, with little/no effects except that I have a shakinesss which makes me have to hold on to a pulpit when standing and preaching in public, which I never had to do before — though I cannot be sure if that is some fallout from POTS, nerve damage from my B12 shortage, or what. One of my deacons thinks it may be like Paul’s “thorn” in II Cor., a reminder of my dependence on the Lord, and it may well be. As to my overall healing, I believe the exercise did “help”, but honestly I don’t have any “silver bullet” answer as to “How did you get better?” other than the grace of God. In retrospect I don’t think the meds helped; the exericse may have some — but at my worst I couldn’t exercise without getting sick, so that is not the total answer in itself. Getting out of the pastorate which is stressful, for a time, may have helped. But all I can really point to is that God did it, and brought me back — and I am thankful for it. In a sense I wish I had something in a bottle I could give to people with POTS to make them well — but in another sense the lesson of looking to God and depending on Him is much better than a “cure in a bottle”, whether we ever get well or not. After all, knowing Him is what we were really made for; if this illness helps us toward that end, then it is not a curse but a blessing. I pray for a number of people with POTS, and am always glad to try to answer any questions I might be able to help with. Probably better to correspond by e-mail than on a blog post; you can use the address. I’d be glad to pray for any requests you have or give any input that might help! Thanks again for writing!

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