“My suffering only grew worse, and I was overcome with anxiety. The more I thought, the more troubled I became; I could not keep from asking: ‘Lord, how long will I live?”
Ps 39:2, 3, 4 GNB
Illness is never welcome. It intrudes into our routines, plans and programmes. Usually it catches us unawares. It removes us from contact with many of our usual friends and business associates. We feel lonely and cut off. Whilst we may have confidence in the medical personnel, we know that “mistakes do happen”. If there is not a speedy resolution of the trouble we begin to wonder whether “they” are not telling us everything, and whether things are worse than anyone is saying. An illness can be a sort of “dress rehearsal” for the big event we know is coming sometime – death itself .
And the psalmist went through all these emotions. Without the benefit of modern medical and surgical techniques he had to battle on with only his faith and his inner thoughts to guide and support him. Inevitably he began to think about whether he was going to die. It became a constant worry and fear. His mind became a whirlpool of conflicting hopes, fears, expressions of trust, regrets for the sins he thought he must have committed, and the determination to suffer in silence.
When you entertain the prospect of death during a prolonged illness, remember with gratitude that you have the best facilities that science and human ingenuity can devise to help you. Do what Jesus did on the cross – commit yourself to God the Father. When you do this you are not resigning yourself to the inevitable, but rather asking the Lord to take over. Know that he will do his best for you.
PRAYER THOUGHT Lord, I am yours in life and in death.