Another principal responsibility which sickness requires of you, is that of “living a life that is constantly ready to bear it patiently.” Sickness is no doubt a trying thing to flesh and blood. To feel our nerves weakened–to be obliged to sit still and be cut off from all our usual pastimes–to see our plans destroyed and our purposes disappointed–to endure long hours and days, and nights of weariness and pain–all this is a severe strain on poor sinful human nature. Is it any wonder that irritability and impatience are brought out by disease! Surely in such a dying world as this we should study patience.
How will we learn to bear sickness patiently, when it is our turn to suffer sickness? We must lay up stores of grace in the time of health. We must seek for the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit over our undisciplined tempers and personalities. We must make a real business of our prayers, and regularly ask for strength to endure God’s will as well as to do it. Such strength is to be had for the asking: “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” [John 14:14]
I cannot think it needless to dwell on this point. I believe the passive graces of Christianity receive far less notice than they deserve. Peace, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, are all mentioned in the Word of God as fruits of the Spirit. They are passive graces which especially glorify God. They often make men think, who normally despise the active side of the Christian character. Never do these graces shine so brightly as they do in the sick room. They enable many a sick person to preach a silent sermon, which those around him never forget. Would your beautify the doctrine you profess? Would you make your Christianity beautiful in the eyes of others? Then take the suggestion that I give you this day. Store up a reserve of patience for the day of sickness that is sure to come. Then, though your sickness does not end in death, it will be for the “God’s glory.” [John 11:4]
J.C. Ryle on the benefits of sickness
August 7, 2011 by John Knight