4 Benefits of Getting Really Sick

I seldom get sick. For some reason, I usually sidestep most maladies, bugs, and viruses.

Sick guy.

(Photo: by Elena Elisseeva, via Vivozoom)

But when it does come my turn, sickness makes up for lost time. With a vengeance. I get really sick.

This happened last week. So, while I sat around feeling miserable, I got to thinking.

I discovered four benefits to getting really sick.

1. You realize how weak you really are.

You exercise regularly. You try to eat well and to get enough rest. You even take supplements. But shake the unwashed hand of one infected individual, and whammo! One little virus can take your entire body down for days.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made, no doubt (Psalm 139:14). But we are also vulnerable to weakness.

2. You realize the world can live without you.

This is the tough one. Getting sick caused me to miss an important meeting at work. We planned for weeks that I would conduct a video interview, but I had to pull out at the last minute for my sick time. You know what happened? They got someone else to do the interview, and it went just fine without me!

I’m not that important. Getting sick reminded me that my participation in something is a privilege, not a right. I am not God’s gift to my job. My job is God’s gift to me.

3. You realize the blessing of good health.

Sometimes you have to lose something to appreciate it. Most movies work like this.

  • Start with “normal life.”
  • Enter a crisis.
  • Solve the crisis.
  • The “new normal” is that you simply appreciate what you took for granted.

Are you grateful for good health? If not, just lose it for a while and you’ll change your perspective. Good health is a blessing from God.

4. You look forward to heaven.

I see this hope in two aspects.

  • First, misery looks for relief, and heaven promises no more sickness, or crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4). Whatever we’re struggling with, we know it will end one day.
  • Second, any physical recovery today is a preview of what Jesus will do on a cosmic scale one day. When Christ healed people, it was more than mercy expressed. He gave a preview of what He will do for those who will enter His kingdom. Just as Jesus’ resurrection was a preview of all resurrections, so every healing, every physical recovery, is an example of what God will do on a large scale to all believers.

Obviously, the benefits of getting sick are benefits of perspective. I’m sure there are more than these four that I’ve put on my list.

But these were good medicine for me.

Tell me what you think: What advantages can you think of to getting sick? To leave a comment, just click here.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts. Just keep it kind and relevant. Thanks!

  • Betty

    Fabulous. Just fabulous.

    • Thank you, Betty. These lessons came at a price!

  • Jill Schmidt

    Joe and I do not normally get sick either. For a little over two months we all took turns being sick. Toward the end of our illnesses, Ben, our four year old spent 12 days in the hospital with pneumonia. Prior to this, Joe and I were quick to help others with a meal or anything else that was needed, but, it was really hard for us to accept it. When Ben went into the hospital I had been diagnosed with pneumonia myself 4 days prior. We were so completely overwhelmed and emotionally spent that God had us both in a great place of total surrender to Him. The prayers and encouraging bible verses from our brothers and sisters in Christ from around the country kept us going and gave us an amazing peace and comfort. Several friends brought meals and helped us take care of the other 2 boys so Joe and I could make sure that one of us was always at the hospital. The biggest blessing through all of this was sweet surrender. Looking up to God with the realization that no we do not have it under control, but He does and He always did. Praise God!

    • WOW. Jill, you and Joe have a tremendous story to share with others. Have you been able to encourage others with your experience?

      • Jill Schmidt

        We have been able to share our story with a lot of people during and afterwards. We spoke of our faith at the hospital with the nurses that were taking care of Ben and by God’s grace hopefully planted some seeds. I am still in awe of how God meet all of our needs and even ones we didn’t know we had. One in particular was when Ben was scheduled to have surgery, we found out there was going to be a long delay before he was going to be taken down. Joe begged me to go to the cafeteria and try to eat something. As I was coming out of the elevator, they were wheeling Ben around the corner in his hospital bed about to take him down. Joe said you must have received my text and I hadn’t, it was just “perfect” timing. When Ben went into surgery he was so scared and it took all I had to be strong for him and not fall apart. As I fell apart in the waiting room, a guy that we went to church with was there with a friend of his and all four of us stood there in the middle of the waiting room praying for each other. God is so good!

  • Along with #2, your coworkers value you more! After days/weeks of trying to get your work done and relying on office manuals to figure out how you do it, they are always thrilled to see you back.

    •  Absolutely. It also ties into #3 that a crises resolved brings back a more grateful attitude about “normal.” Thanks, Rob.

      • Oh yeah…sounds like someone needed to read closer. Yep, I’m that guy that never manages to read all the way to the bottom of the e-mail!

  • When I was a kid I would have said “I don’t have to go to school today!”

  • Walt Stephens

    Hi!  I enjoyed  reading this and will add one more that I experience. LIke you, I am not sick that often, but when I am I cling to God more tightly and depend on Him more when I am sick or in really tough circumstances.  I have found that the blessings He gives me are the sweetest then.  I don’t enjoy the tough times, but have learned to trust God so much that I don’t fear them as I used to, and look for those sweet blessings and lessons to learn through them. Those are times of some of my greatest spiritual growth. 

    • God’s love really has to force this kind of blessing on us. We would never pursue painful blessings that end up being the sweetest. I appreciate your perspective. 

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  • Sophia

    I’m recovering from an illness and reflected on exactly what you shared, which led me to discovering your wonderful article. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • So sorry you’re ill, Sophia. Glad you found some encouragement here. It’s amazing how the Lord often takes us down to lift us up. Thanks for your comment.

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  • Traineveryday

    another advantage of getting sick is that when you recover your body starts to get use to the virus and combats it more easily, said you become stronger
    no pain, no gain

    • You point out a great physical advantage. I had only considered the spiritual and emotional benefit. Thanks for adding that.

  • Sarah

    All my life I’ve been epileptic with no friends, no job or proper qualification. Sometimes I wonder what Gods plans are for me. Inspite of all this my faith has been so strong and have missed out on a lot in life.

    • The life God has given you is only a small slice of eternity, Sarah, and your intimacy with the Lord is a wonderful gift that has come at a high price. Although my burdens in life differ from yours somewhat, I have found it helpful to remember that there is no “solution” to life’s problems that doesn’t require faith. Faith will always be in the mix. Here are a few more posts that offer some perspective. Thank you for your courage, Sarah. The world around you is watching you. Show them Jesus.

      • Sarah

        Great article man hope the Lord blessed both of us in different ways. Sometimes he likes to see the faithful people suffer. Never mind his ways are greater than ours. Take Care!?

        • Just as I don’t like to see my children suffer, so I’m not sure God does—just for suffering’s sake. But He always has a bigger purpose in mind. As you said, His ways are greater than ours. Thanks.

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