By Stephen Leonard
“I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.” Psalm 6:6
These very words, “I do not feel well,” have been spoken many times over in your life. Some have said or thought them for nearly all the days of their sojourn—others, more sporadically. The words could indicate the start of a sickness: flu, cold, sore throat, or worse. For others, they exhibit symptoms of a more pernicious and persistent disease.
Not feeling well is a fairly frequent malady of life; the fulfillment of the Lord’s words, “In this life you will have tribulation.” The Bible never promises you a rose garden, does it?
I have often heard the spoken, out loud, pleading prayer, “Lord, help me,” from the mouths of those struggling with the pain and discomfort of miserable sickness, while curled up in a fetal position.
What then do those who do not believe in God really do? Who or what can they call out to? So often, we are physically alone in our suffering in sickness though there are loved ones in the next room. But those who believe God really is are never truly alone.
The atheist, however, finds himself in dire straits. He wants to speak to someone other than himself during those lonely, painful times, but struggles through solitary hours; hours made more unbearable in their stubborn disbelief. He really is quite lonely in what he believes is a materialist, non-created Universe. Miserably so.
Man was not created to be alone. He is, of necessity, a social animal. He craves fellowship. Everyone needs someone, but there are those necessary times in every person’s life when you have no one but God as a companion.
This is not a time to be left in misery. No one knows how bad you really feel. They can only surmise. And they can do nothing to help you in the discomfort of your “not feeling well.” You and they must wait for the suffering to pass. It may be a relatively short time or, unfortunately, longer. It may seem interminable. The one who knows God, however, never suffers in isolation. And the evidence for God is overwhelming.
Sickness and pain are a factual part of life in a fallen world, whether physical or emotional. You can choose to suffer alone, or you can by faith know the One who can deliver you and accompany you in lonely valleys.
King David wrote, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want…Even though I walk through The valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
This is a companionship you can never afford to be without. You may not feel well, but you always have the comforting presence of your personal and healing physician, the good Shepherd who truly and eventually guides you beside refreshing, still waters.
“Watch by the sick; enrich the poor with blessings from thy boundless store; be every mourner’s sleep tonight, like infant’s slumbers, pure and light.”
(5th verse of John Keble’s hymn, “Sun of My Soul, Thou Savior Dear,” 1820)