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23rd November: When I Myself am Ill

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are co

Even doctors get ill! This admission can be a reluctant one for the doctor, and an embarrassing one for the patient! We may, as any other human being, be smitten by the acute and unexpected, or we may be among those who battle with more chronic forms of illness.

When I was a houseman I had had diabetes for about ten years and generally, kept extremely well. Inevitably though, at times there were difficulties, such as a dropping blood sugar while assisting at a protracted operation or the weariness resulting from the combination of diabetic instability and long hours of medical work.

One of the `hidden agendas' behind periods of illness that I have appreciated increasingly through the years is that of finding God's strengthening in order to help others at their points of need. John Job, in his devotional commentary on the book of Job, says that those who suffer, and thereby care for others who are afflicted, are `missionaries of comfort'. It is not easy to accept this perspective when we are feeling unwell. But if illness is permitted in your life or mine, let us allow God's grace to comfort us, `so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction'.

Lord, I do not like getting ill. Help me if illness should come my way to learn through it and to find your comfort in my hours of need, so that I can be a `missionary of comfort' to others.

Further reading: 2 Cor 1:3-11. Rom 5:3-5.


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