Suffering and sickness in The Holy Bible – Part 9
Victory Over Personal Suffering Cont.
If your suffering is physical in nature, follow the steps as outlined in the article on Divine Healing, later in the discourse on sickness (8). During your suffering period, remember Christ’s prediction that you will have trouble in your life as a believer (Jn 16:33). Look forward with eager anticipation to the time that God “shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain,” (Rev 21:4).
Definitions:“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” (James 5:14)
Sick Gk asthenei, includes more than physical sickness. The verb’s basic meaning is to be weak. The Bible uses it for a variety of weaknesses, such as being weak in faith (Rom 14:1-2), fearful (2 Cor 11:29), in financial need (Acts 20:35) or suffering various diseases (Luke 4:40). The corresponding noun astheneia is used of the moral helplessness of sinners (Rom 5:6), weakness that gives up too easily (Mat 26:41), as well as weakness that gives too much attention to externals and is constantly troubled in conscience.
Diseases refers to physical and/or mental malfunctions that limit human functions and lessen the quality of life. Unfortunately, people that lived in biblical times had limited means to diagnose and treat illness. The best-educated people in biblical times had a meagre understanding of human anatomy and physiology and even less knowledge about the nature of disease and its effect on the body. No one knew about bacteria and viruses. This fact hampered diagnosis. Illness was often attributed to sin or to a curse by an enemy. The main diagnostic tools were observation and superficial physical examination. The physician had few aids to use in his work. Several examples of sickness are mentioned in the Bible, where no description of the treatment given is described. King Asa had a disease of the feet (2 Chron 16:12). The nature of the treatment provided by his physicians is not given, but it was unsuccessful, and he died after two years. King Jehoram died with a painful intestinal disorder (2 Chron 21:18-20). King Uzziah died of leprosy (2 Chron 26:19-23). King Herod Agrippa I died of some kind of parasitic disease (Acts 12:21-23).
Several kings died of injuries received in battle. Ahaziah died following a fall from the upper portion of his home in Samaria (2 Kings 1:2-17). When illness or accident occurred in the ancient world, it mattered little whether one was a royal person or a commoner — in either case; only limited medical help was available.
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