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"Here a great number of disabled people used to lie — the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there — had been an invalid for thirty-eight years!" John 5:3-5
That was a long time to be sick! It is very hard to be an invalid year after year!
This day's lesson may come to some who have been thus afflicted, and we should stop a minute to think about their case. Christian invalids have many comforts, if they will but take them to heart. God makes no mistakes in dealing with His children! He knows in what school they will learn the best lessons — and in what experiences they will grow best.
Richard Baxter has a strange note on this passage: "How great a mercy it was to live thirty-eight years under God's wholesome discipline! O my God, I thank You for the like discipline of fifty-eight years; how safe a life is this — in comparison with full prosperity and pleasure!"
The furnace-fires of sickness burn off many a chain of sin and worldliness! Many who are now in Heaven, will thank God forever for their invalidism in this life — which kept them from sin. We may be sure that God never calls any of His children into sickness — without a purpose of blessing them. There is some lesson — which He wants to teach them; some new glimpse of His love — which He wants to show them; some spiritual beauty — which He wants to develop in them.
Sick-rooms should always be to us sacred places, as we remember that God has summoned us there for some special work upon our souls.
We need to be very careful lest we miss the good which He wants us to receive. It is only those who trust Christ and lie upon His bosom — who are blessed by sickness. Too many invalids grow discontented, unhappy, sour and fretful. Sickness ofttimes fails to do good to those who suffer. There are few experiences in which we so much need to be watchful over ourselves, and prayerful toward God. Be sure to keep the sickness out of your heart — and keep Christ there with His love and peace.