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God's Work (even through sickness)

Some of you already know, but in case you don’t, our Student Ministry camp – Citizens Mission Camp – ended early due to illness. Citizens Mission Camp pulled together over 80 students from Trinity and our daughter churches. Part of their work was to serve 2 of our daughter churches by providing Vacation Bible School in Mulberry and Highland City. But with all of those students and volunteers in close proximity for hours on end, someone got a stomach virus. About a quarter of the students attending eventually came down with the bug, along with several of our staff and volunteers. Everyone got home safely. Our leaders made the call late Wednesday night to shut it all down rather than finish the planned schedule all the way to Friday morning.

I know that I can often view illness as an intrusion – and it certainly has the power to derail my agenda or schedule. But even the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian believers, “It was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, and though my condition was a trial … you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God.”

First, God is able to work in spite of our frailties. And if your ultimate goal is to love well, then even the experience of sickness cannot block you from your true mission. It simply changes the condition of the people you’re seeking to love.

Second, the Lord certainly uses our physical weaknesses to humble us. One of our church’s foundational statements of faith says that God uses our frailties “to raise us to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. 5)

And in His ultimate plan, God used death itself to accomplish the greatest work ever done. The Father planned that His Son would go into the worst form of frailty – death itself – in order to do the best thing that has ever been done for anyone. By Jesus’ death, all who trust Him are cleansed and forgiven!

So, we can trust Him to work here too. We can trust the LORD to turn even a stomach bug into His good eternal purposes. Our plans were interrupted. Maybe our agenda or schedule was derailed, but God’s work was not.

Things to pray for:

  • Gratitude. Give thanks to Jesus for the gift of our students, our daughter churches, and all of the volunteers who made Citizens Mission Camp possible.
  • Humility. Ask the Lord to help you trust Him in the midst of your frailties and limits, whether healthy or ill. Pray for the ability to see God’s unfettered work even through sickness.
  • Wisdom. Pray for wisdom to trust God’s work and come alongside those students and volunteers, who were ill to know, trust, love and obey Jesus in the throes of their weakness.
  • Love. Pray that the Holy Spirit would bear in your heart the fruit of His love. Ask Him to help you to live out His care to those around you so that you can love well no matter the condition of the one you’re seeking to love.

Tim Rice, Lead Pastor & Director of Church Planting