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How God Uses Sickness

John 11 • November 5, 2023 • g1276

Pastor Ron Hindt from Calvary Chapel Houston teaches a message through John 11 titled “How God Uses Sickness.”

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Pastor Ron Hindt

November 5, 2023

Sermon Scripture Reference

I want to begin with what took place in my own life.

It started in January of 2023. I exercise about six days a week to stay fit as best I can. But all of a sudden my back started hurting. When you get a little older, it’s no fun. The a-g-e disease is no fun. I put it off and thought, I’ll get through this. When February came around and I still had pain, I thought, I’d better go see my doctor. I told him that I couldn’t tell him exactly where it was in my back; it was just kind of sore. He took x-rays and told me, “I don’t see anything; you’re fine.” Great, but it still persisted. In April, I’m still being bothered by it, so he ordered an MRI. In the lower lumbar, we find out I’m got some pressed disks, which I knew. They’re being smashed, so in the future I need to do something about that. I went to a pain specialist, who gave me two injections a month apart.

By this time, it’s feeling a little bit better, but then suddenly my upper back was hurting. I thought, Is this thing shifting?! I felt like such a baby; now my upper back hurts. So my doctor ordered another MRI, and I found out I have three, broken vertebrae. And I hadn’t been in an accident, which is unusual for this type of injury. I had no idea how this happened. So they gave me kyphoplasty, which is kind of like they put cement in there to fix it up.

I was short to begin with, but I lost three inches in height as a result of this kyphoplasty surgery. One time I was taller than my wife; now I’m shorter than her. I’m turning into a hobbit; I’m getting hair on my feet, but I can throw stones well.

At this point, we’re in May 2023. On May 18th, at 8 o’clock in the morning, I got a call from my Mom. My Dad had been having some difficulties, but my Mom said that my Dad had passed away the night before. It was a shock! I loved my Dad; we had a great relationship. He was a believer, so he is with Jesus. And my Mom is also a believer. I cried with my Mom on the phone and prayed with her. It was great fellowship.

So I went on with my day and shared that with my wife. Six hours later I saw on my phone that the people who did my back surgery had called. I figure they were going to follow up with me, so I put the phone on speaker. I said, “Well, tell me about it.”

They said, “Mr. Hindt, we have to tell you that you have cancer.”

“What?!!” We were shocked!

They said, “We were surprised that you had these broken vertebrae, since you’re in good shape. So we sent out to have a biopsy, and you have multiple myelomas. You have all these tumors in your back, and that’s why it’s breaking apart and crushing.”

Okay. That was a wake-up call! My Dad passed away and now I have cancer!

I told my wife, “Honey, let’s go out in the backyard. We have a pathway in our backyard that we walked, we cried, we worshipped Jesus and we prayed. That’s what you do when trouble comes your way.

Many passages came to my mind. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” And Job 2:10, stuck out, where he says, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” Of course we should also accept adversity. So I just praised God. He has a plan in this. I’ve gone through chemotherapy and I’ve had radiation, all that stuff. God has been very faithful.

But one thing I want to share is that before I went to my oncologist for the first time, my wife and I were having separate devotions one morning. We do that every morning, but we always get together before we take the kids to school to talk about what the Lord showed us. This one time, God spoke to my wife out of Judges 6, where God tells Gideon, in verse 23, “Do not fear, you shall not die.” She told me, “I believe God was speaking that for you!” And I said, “That’s funny, because I was reading 2 Samuel 12:13 this morning, where Nathan said to David, “The Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.” I felt like these were words for me! I was very encouraged by that, so I was going to trust God and believe Him for this.

Having heard that, two days later, we went to the oncologist for the first time. We were put in his office, and we’re waiting for the door to open. Then he walked in and immediately he said to me, “Mr. Hindt, you’re not gonna die from this!” What oncologist says that the first time you meet him?! I said, “Well, that’s cool! You just confirmed what the Lord told me! Thank you! I like you as a doctor! We’ll work really well together.”

So I’ve been through this whole process, I still have cancer, but I’m in remission right now. I’m going to have a bone-marrow transplant on December 18th. If you can remember that, please pray for me. I’ll be in the hospital for three weeks, but I’m going to have a white Christmas. I’ll be in a white room with people in white robes. It’s going to be wonderful. So praise the Lord! They’ll be taking my own bone marrow and fixing it up and then putting it back in me. It’s like an oil change. It’s a reboot. I’m going to be great! I’m just trusting God.

Now what I want to talk to you about is, “What good can come out of illness? What possible good can come out of sickness?” The Bible tells us quite a lot. In John 11:1-3, it says, “Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.’” But Jesus staid where He was a few more days, Lazarus dies, then Jesus went and raised Lazarus from the dead. It’s a great illustration of what the Lord will do with us through faith in Him; He’s going to raise us from the dead.

But I want you to see here how the sisters sent word to Jesus. They don’t say, “Lord, he who loves You is sick.” They don’t say, “Lord, he who believes in You is sick.” Both of those statements are true; Lazarus loved the Lord and believed in the Lord. But Mary and Martha declare, “He whom You love is sick.”

This is so very important when we deal with sickness. Sickness is never a sign from God that He doesn’t love us. God truly does love us. He has a plan and a purpose in everything He allows in our life. I’ve written down nine ways in which God uses sickness in our lives. Since then, I’ve discovered many more, but I’ll just give you nine.

Number one, God uses sickness to increase our trust. In Psalm 119:67, David says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.” And in verse 71, he says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” We tend to grow lax in our walk with the Lord. We tend to think that we’ve got control of it. But bring on sickness, and we seek God like never before. We go to His Word and say, “God, I need to hear from you!” And James 1:2-4 says, “My brethren, count it all joy…”—really?—“…when you fall into various trials.” Yes, because “…knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” The word “perfect” here means “mature,” the word “complete” means “well rounded,” and “lacking nothing” means “no deficiency.”

So God will use sickness in our life to increase our trust so that we become mature, complete, with no deficiency. In other words, we mature in our faith. We grow in our trust. In fact, it has been said that “A faith that can’t be tested, can’t be trusted.” It’s true. So God needs to test our faith. One poet put it this way:

“When nothing on which to lean remains,
When strongholds crumble to dust,
When nothing is sure but that God still reigns,
That is just the time to trust.

It’s better to walk by faith than sight,
In this path of yours and mine;
And the deepest night, when there is no other light,
Is the time for faith to shine.”

So God uses sickness to increase our trust.

Number two, God uses sickness to humble us, to wean us off of ourselves. In 2 Corinthians 12, it is the Apostle Paul writing. In verses 7-10, he says, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations…”—Paul had revelations from God—“…a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me…”—why?—“…lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure…”—really?—“…in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

So God will use sickness to break us from ourselves. Then I will have to rely completely on Him. Stripped of our own strength, our only hope is in God. It’s not in doctors. It’s not in the power of our mind, our thinking, our ingenuity. No; we have to rely on God.

I think of Zachariah 4:6. Couch it in the area of illness. It says, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ say the Lord of hosts.” You have to lean on God for His strength and His power. We rarely lean on that truth except when all we have left is God. And God will use that sickness, that illness.

Some of you are dealing with it right now, so that you will lean on God alone.

Think of Jacob in Genesis, how he wrestled with God. It tells us that God touched his hip joint, and from that moment on, the Bible tells us that Jacob had a limp. He had to lean on a stick or cane and limped for the rest of his life. And it was only after that that God was able to change his name to Israel, because he was reminded every, single time he walked to lean on God. “I have to lean on God; I can’t trust in my own strength.”

This is what sickness does. God kind of gets us out of joint. He says, “Are you going to trust in Me? Are you going to trust in Me, Ron? Are you going to lean on My strength?”

And in that state of brokenness, that’s when God is even closer to us. In Psalm 34:18-19, it says, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

Number three, God will use sickness to increase our prayer life. I think of blind Bartimaeus, in Mark 10:46-52, who was on the roadside and said, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” People told him to be quiet, but he pressed even more. “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Bartimaeus cared not what other people thought. All he wanted in his infirmity was an audience with God. That’s what sickness does: it says, “I need an audience with God!”

I think of the woman who had a flow of blood for 12 years. It tells us in Matthew 9:21 that she said, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” In her point of despair, like Bartimaeus’, all she cared about was an audience with Jesus. Sickness causes us to want to have an audience with Jesus. It increases our prayer life.

King Hezekiah—same response. In 2 Kings 20:2-3, “He turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord.” Why? He was sick and was going to die. He said, “‘Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.”

I’ve wept bitterly in pain. There have been times I’ve been in such pain that I cried out in pain.

Hezekiah was a man broken in his pain, knowing that he would die. But he cried out to God, and God heard his prayer and said, “I have heard your prayer….I will add to your days 15 years,” verses 5-6. I like that. I’ll take 15 more years.
So this sickness was a good thing; it causes him—and us—to pray to God. One poet wrote:

“Make your petition deep, O heart of mine;
Your God can do much more than you can ask.
Launch out on the divine, draw from His love-filled store,
Trust Him with everything. Begin today,
And find the joy that comes when Jesus has His way!”

God will allow sickness in our life. Maybe it’s because He’s trying to increase your prayer life. There are prayer meetings that go on in this church. Why don’t you attend them? Or in your own house, come before God. “God, I need to hear from You.” He also wants to hear from you.

Number four, God uses sickness to affirm our faith. George Miller was known for his incredible faith. He said, “The only way to know strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm through severe testings.”

1 Peter 1:6-8 also deals with trials and challenges. James says, “Count it all joy.” And Peter writes, “In this you greatly rejoice…”—“yay, trials; all right”—though now for a little while, if need be…”—there are times God knows this is what we need—“…you have been grieved by various trials…”—why?—“…that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found…”—God is looking for your faith in sickness—“…to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love.” We trust in God, though we have not seen Him. “Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”

So God uses intense trials, like sickness, to prove the validity of our faith—or the lack thereof. In 1 John 2:19, John talks about people who say they are Christians, but when difficulty comes, inevitably away they go. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out…”—they left—“…that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” They were not true believers.

In Luke 8, we have the parable of the sower, but it would better be called the parable of the soils. Jesus likens how a seed goes into different soils and then how it responds, just as the Word of God hits the hearts of individuals and how we respond to it. In verses 5-8, Jesus said, “‘A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.’ When He had said these things He cried, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear!’”

“Then His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘What does this parable mean?’” So Jesus explained it in verses 11-13. “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” So these people have a hard heart.

Now I only want to look at the next one as it applies to our topic of sickness. “But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation…”—or “testing”—“…fall away.” We all know people who say, “I love Jesus! Praise the Lord!” They get all excited and believe for a while, but when testing, the difficulty, the trial comes, they fall away. The New Living Translation says, “They believe for a while, but they wilt when the hot winds of testing blow.” So here comes the trial, the sickness, and there goes their faith. They ask, “What kind of God would allow this in my life?!”

But the good news is that those who are truly saved, their faith is affirmed. We saw this in the life of Job. His is a classic example. He lost all his possessions and his children, yet he said, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” Job 2:10. That’s great faith. And he actually said, in Job 1:21-22, “‘The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin.” That’s strong faith.

So at times, God will allow sickness to prove the validity of our faith. And it’s not that God needs to know how our faith is. He already knows where our heart is. The time of testing is for us to know where our hearts are. It’s so we have a gauge of where we are.

There have been times when I’ve gone through trials that I wasn’t doing so well. It was more like, “O ye of little faith,” Matthew 8:26. But there are times when you begin to grow and mature in your faith that you can know you’re solid—“I’m trusting in Jesus, no matter what!” So sickness draws out faith in the true believer.

Think of the centurion who came to Jesus. In Matthew 8:6-10, he said, “‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’” The centurion then said, “Only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’” When Jesus heard that, “He marveled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’” Then, of course, Jesus healed his servant.

I want you to see that it wasn’t even a sickness in his own life, but it was in his servant’s life that drew out this incredible faith! The centurion didn’t cry out to the gods of Rome. He could have. He could have disregarded God altogether, but he didn’t. His servant’s sickness drew him to saving faith. He thought, This man is truly the King of kings and the Lord of lords! This great faith, coming from a centurion, a Gentile, amazed Jesus. And it would take a lot to amaze Jesus, I would say.

So God will use sickness to increase our trust, to humble us, to increase our prayer life and to affirm our faith—or our lack of genuine faith.

Number five, God uses sickness to remind us of our hope. As a Christian, you have dual citizenship—on the earth and in heaven, according to Philippians 3:20. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” When you go through severe sickness or a severe trial, it reminds you that this is not our home; heaven is a believer’s home. It’s a reminder that glory is waiting for us.

This is why Paul says in Romans 8:18, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” This is nothing; whatever I have to go through is okay. I already know where I’m going. So how am I going to respond to this sickness or trial until I get to heaven? I want to be a testimony for Jesus.

Also, in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 Paul said that he didn’t want the Thessalonians to “sorrow as others who have no hope.” That tells us two things. First, we do sorrow. There are times of tears and sorrow. I cried with my Mom when I lost my Dad. I cried when I got the news about my cancer; I didn’t want to put my wife through that. My first wife died of cancer. I was her caretaker. I know that whole scene; it’s not easy. I’m the person who has to be there for her. So there are times when we do sorrow. But Christians don’t sorrow as those do who have no hope; I know where I’m going.

I tell my wife, “I ready to go be with Jesus.”

She says, “No, you’re not! We have kids to take care of! Don’t leave me here alone with them!”

“Okay, babe. I understand. I get that.” That would be the easy way out, for sure.

We have hope. Hebrews 6:19 says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” You, as a believer, know where you’re going. You have this certain confidence. 1 Peter 1:3 tells us that we are born again “to a living hope.” Titus 3:7 says that believers are “heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” So sickness only serves as a reminder of where we’re going. Praise the Lord!

But the devil has several masterful tricks. He will tempt you in your sickness to get discouraged, disappointed, defeated and to be disillusioned. That’s a lie of the enemy. It’s smoke and mirrors. Why are you disillusioned and disappointed?

I do funerals all the time. I’ve been doing them for 40 years. It doesn’t matter is someone dies at a young age or they die at 95. They always say, “I can’t believe they died so early!” At 95?! We’re all going to die. The statistics are out; 10 out of 10 people will die. But as Christians, we know where we’re going. Don’t let the devil get you so disillusioned that you’re bummed out.

Another thing the devil will get you to do is to doubt. “Maybe God doesn’t love you as much as you think He does. He’s deserting you.” Those are lies. Don’t be tricked by them. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He’s “the author and finisher of our faith,” Hebrews 12:2. And Philippians 1:6 says, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” So sickness only serves as a reminder that we will be with Jesus—no more sorrow, no more sickness, no more tears, no more pain. Praise Jesus!

Number six, sickness is a reminder to comfort others. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Paul writes, “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 tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” The word “comfort” appears five times in that verse. What he’s telling us is that when God takes us through affliction, we then can use that to comfort others.

God has done that many times in my life. And He wants to do that through all the difficulties you go through. I’ve lost a child. So then I can minister to someone who also has lost a child. I know how deep and hard that is. I’ve lost a spouse. Maybe you have gone through that. I can resonate and give comfort to those who have lost a spouse. I have some prodigals in my life, older kids who are in their 30s, who have walked away from Jesus. That’s heartbreaking, knowing they were raised in Christ. I have cancer now. I can relate to people who have to go through chemo and all that stuff.

None of this is wasted. It’s not about me; it’s about others. How can I comfort and bring hope to others? This is what it’s all about.

L. B. Cowman says in Streams in the Desert,

“There are some people in your circle of friends to whom you naturally go in times of trial and sorrow—people who always seem to say the right words.” You probably have someone like that. “If so, you may not realize the high cost they have paid to become so skilled at binding up your gaping wounds and drying your tears. Yet, if you were to investigate their past, you would find they have suffered more than most other people. They have watched the silver cord, on which the lamp of life hung, slowly unravel. They have seen the golden bowl of joy smashed at their feet, and its contents spilled. They have experienced raging tides, withering crops, and darkness at high noon, but all this has been necessary to make them into the ministers of others.”

She then writes, “Cartons containing spices from the orient may be cumbersome to ship and slow in coming, but once they arrive, the beautiful fragrance fills the air. In the same way, suffering is trying and difficult to bear, but hiding just below the surface is discipline, knowledge, and limitless possibilities.”

Each of these not only strengthens and matures us, but also equips us to help or comfort others. That’s why God allows it so many times. Use it for others.

Number seven, God uses sickness to be a witness to the lost. In our sickness, we deal with unbelievers. Our sickness is a reminder that we’re all going to die one day. Most people in this life just live for the here-and-now—business, pleasure, leisure, family. And most people live as though this earth is their eternal home.

Most people live like the farmer that Jesus talked about in Luke 12. He had so many crops that he didn’t know what to do. Then he said, “I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’” verses 18-20. So he was living for the here-and-now, but it was gone in a moment. And that’s how most people live.

Bring on sickness of a loved one or of a friend or sickness of yourself and it dispels all those delusions. As J. C. Ryle writes, “It awakens men from their daydreams and reminds them that one day they, too, will die.”

So sickness reminds us that we need to be a witness to the lost. Let’s talk about it to others. I have hope in Jesus Christ. It reminds people of their mortality.

A great example of this is Paul and Silas, in Acts 16. Paul had delivered a demon-possessed girl, some didn’t like it, so they took Paul and Silas, beat them and threw them into a rat-infested, Philippian jail dungeon. And put them in stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praising the Lord. Really?! Then there was a great earthquake. All the prison cell doors opened up, and the prisoners’ chains were loosened. So it was the first Christian concert that brought the house down. They rocked the house! But the Philippians jailer thought the prisoners had escaped, so he decided to kill himself, because he would be responsible for them. But Paul said, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here,” verse 28.

But the jailer was amazed, because he was the one who had beat Paul and Silas and threw them into this horrible jail. How could they, in this horrible place, worship God? So the jailer asked them, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” He wanted what they had. So Paul lead him and his whole family to saving faith in Christ, they were baptized and thus God began a good work in Philippi. A church was established there. So God used that affliction to be a witness for them.

And God will use the affliction we go through—and our response to it—to the unbeliever. My wife and I have had many opportunities to share Jesus with people when I’m in the oncologist’s office. There are all these people there getting infusions. They’re really bummed out. We can be the light of hope to them. Praise God!

Number eight, God will use sickness to also be a witness to the saved, to believers. In fact, Paul, writing to the Philippian church in Philippians 2:17 said, “If I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.” Basically he said that if God has taken him down to nothing—the drink offering was offered up by the priests. They took some wine, poured it on the altar and it immediately turned to vapor and disappeared. Paul essentially said that his life was going, he was dying and he was willing to do it for their faith. That was how he responded. And the Bible says, “What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away,” James 4:14.

So Paul was saying that he was willing to be a testimony to the church. He says the same thing in Colossians 1:24. “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.”

Many times when we go through difficulty, the church is watching us. Believers are looking at how we respond to the challenge, to the difficulty. I look at some great believers in the faith and then I shut up about what I’m going through. People like Joni Eareckson Tada, who has been a witness for Christ for some 50 years. She’s paralyzed from the neck down; she a quadriplegic. She’s amazing! She just talks about Jesus. She now travels with two nurses, because her organs are breaking down. My wife saw her speak two years ago, and when she was speaking, she stopped breathing, so the nurses came out, resuscitated her and she finished her talk. I’m like, “Really?! Wow!” After hearing that, if I have any difficulty going on in my life, I just shut up. If I complain about anything in my life, I shut up. This is a great testimony of the believer to the believers.

There are many people in my church who have cancer. And because their pastor shared with them, I felt they were saying, “We’re so sorry for Pastor Hindt.” No; I don’t want any special attention. And at Revival Christian Fellowship, there are just as many people dealing with cancer. And when you see a believer going through it by praising God and trusting Him, what a powerful witness! I have many of those in my church.

But one man stands out in particular. A few years ago he got cancer in his jaw. They had to remove some of his jaw, and it disfigured his whole face. And because of that, his wife left him. Then two months later, he lost his job. And yet he is at church every Sunday, every mid-week service and serving the Lord. That is how you live for Christ. And now he actually has a job in the cancer field. God has given him a new, reconstruction job on his face. I’m praying that God would bring him a beautiful, Christian woman. God is faithful! What a testimony! God will use us, in our sickness, to be a testimony to the church.

Now, number nine, God will ultimately use sickness to bring Him glory. Again, Romans 8:28 says, “And we know…”—that’s a statement of certainty—“…that all…”—not some but “all”—“…things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” We can know with certainty that God is working everything for our good. It doesn’t say for our prosperity or for our comfort. No; because sometimes it’s not comfortable. Sometimes it’s challenging and difficult. But God is always working for our good. The best way to say it is this: “Father knows best.”

And at the end of the verse it says, “…according to His purpose.” It’s not about me. The moment He saved me, He took my life and it’s His life now. He can do whatever He wants with my life. Praise the Lord! I know that I’ll be in glory.

And whatever God allows in your life, it’s always for your good. God has a good plan in it. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the thoughts I think toward you,’ says the Lord, ‘thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.’”

So I have given you some of the reasons how God can use sickness in your life. There are many others. He uses it to increase our trust, to keep us humble, to increase our prayer life, to affirm our faith, to remind us of our future hope and glory, to comfort others, to be a witness to the lost and to the saved and ultimately to bring glory to Jesus.

I want to close with the words of George Matheson. He was a Scottish preacher in the 19th century. He also wrote some hymns. Concerning challenges, trials and illness, he wrote:

“Certain songs can only be learned in the valley. No music school can teach them, for no theory can cause them to be perfectly sung. Their music is found in the heart. They are songs remembered through personal experience, revealing their burdens through the shadows of the past, and soaring on the wings of yesterday. In this life, you are receiving music lessons from your Father.

You are being trained to sing in a choir that you cannot yet see. In the darkest night, He is composing your song. In the valley, He is tuning your voice. In the storm clouds, He is deepening your range. In the rain showers, He is sweetening your melody. In the cold, He is giving your notes expression. And as you pass at times from hope to fear, He is perfecting the message of your lyrics.

Oh dear soul, do not despise your school of sorrow. For it is bestowing on you a unique part in the heavenly song.”


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About Pastor Ron Hindt

Pastor Ron Hindt is the senior pastor at Calvary Houston.

Sermon Summary

Pastor Ron Hindt from Calvary Chapel Houston teaches a message through John 11 titled “How God Uses Sickness.”

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Pastor Ron Hindt

November 5, 2023