Sickness is for God’s Glory

by James Smith, 1860

“This sickness is for the glory of God.” John 11:4

God’s glory should be our constant object and aim. For this we were created, redeemed, and converted. In order to this, we are taught, tried, and delivered. Everything that befalls us, or is required of us, is in order that God may be glorified. But, for our comfort and encouragement, we learn from his holy word, that our good and his glory are so united, that we cannot seek the one — but we must produce the other. What a gracious, what a glorious arrangement is this!

Our bodily sickness, even when not designed to issue in death, or be preparatory to a miracle — is for God’s glory.

Sickness is intended:

1. to wean us from the things which are seen and temporal — that we may be taken up with things which are unseen and eternal;

2. to draw us from this world, and worldly things;

3. to bring us nearer to God, that we may enjoy closer communion and fellowship with himself;

4. to afford a better opportunity for the Lord, to grant brighter and sweeter manifestations of himself to the soul;

5. to allow the Lord to display his power and grace — in supporting, consoling, and restoring us again;

6. to draw out the heart in prayer, and bring down sweet and encouraging answers;

7. to quicken our pace in our journey homewards;

8. To exercise all the graces which the holy, and ever blessed Spirit, has wrought in the soul.

There is also a sickness of SOUL, which is for the glory of God — when it is sick through conviction of sin — which makes it loath itself, and sets it against sin. Then it can no longer enjoy the vain, empty, and frivolous amusements of the world, nor feel at home in the company of the carnal. Then the soul becomes sick of SELF, from a discovery of its inherent vileness, wickedness, and opposition to God. It becomes weary of looking to duties, or religious observances, and looks from all — to the Lord alone. It wearies of the world, its customs, fashions, and carnal pleasures. And sickening of all confidence in the flesh, it learns to place its trust, confidence, and dependance in the Lord alone. Thus, God is glorified in his grace, who has provided a suitable and sufficient portion, for us in himself; and thus by the Spirit’s work in the heart, God becomes all in all.

Let us then, in all times of bodily sickness, make it our first, our earnest, and importunate prayer — that God may be glorified. That by every pain we feel, and all the weakness we suffer — he may get glory to his ever blessed name.

Oh, to prefer God’s glory, to our own ease, comfort, and health! And this is our encouragement to do so, that while we seek to glorify him — that he will be sure to support, sanctify, and comfort us. The more we lose sight of SELF, and keep God’s glory in view — the better. And, whenever we . . .
feel deep convictions of sin,
have painful discoveries of the emptiness of the world,
or experience the breaking up of the great deep of corruption within — let us remember that even this is for the glory of God, and that the Son of God may be glorified thereby. In this way, God glorifies . . .
his own free and sovereign grace;
the precious, cleansing, and soul-healing blood of his Son; and
the sustaining, comforting, and sanctifying operations of his Spirit.

In the prostrate body, weakened and worn by disease and pain; and in the stripped, emptied, and humbled soul — God alike glorifies himself. Not only so — but the trials and afflictions, which bring us into such a state, are appointed and arranged for the very purpose. Oh, may the Lord be ever glorified in us, whether by health or sickness, by life or death! Amen.