This week I listened to a Bishop on the radio talking about cancer. I thought it might be helpful but to be honest it was weak. He made the valid point that serious illness, like cancer, teaches us that we are frail. And that was it. I agree of course that though we may intellectually acknowledge we are frail, it is often only when we are really ill that we feel our infirmities! But is that all there is to be said? Of course not. This week alone I read the following: I share these with you praying that you or those you love who are faced with ill health or hospital may find them helpful and that they may bring hope and health to you!
The Heidelberg Catechism
What is your only comfort in life and death?
That I am not my own,
but belong body and soul,
in life and in death
to my faithful Saviour, Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven;
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life
“He heals them… It is he, likewise, who heals their bodily sickness, and gives them help in all their temporal troubles. He is represented to us, as counting their sighs, putting their tears into his bottle, recording their sorrows in his book of remembrance (Psalm 61:8); and even, as being himself “touched with the feeling of their infirmities”, (Hebrews 4:15), as the head feels for the members of the body.”
“Behold how many long for that bodily health, and receive it from Him; they are healed by Him, but not for Him. How are they healed by Him, and not for Him? When they have received health they become wanton; they who when sick were chaste, have become adulterers: they who when in illness injured no man, on the recovery of their strength attack and crush the innocent: they are healed but not unto Him.
Who is he who is healed unto Him? He who is healed inwardly. Who is he who is healed inwardly? He who trusts in Him, that when he shall have been healed inwardly, reformed into a new man, afterwards this mortal flesh too, which does languish for a time, may in the end itself even recover its most perfect health. Let us therefore be healed for Him. But that we may be healed for Him, let us believe in His right hand.” (Augustine on Psalm 98 – Nicene and PN – p.481)
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favour granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
2 Corinthians 1:8-11
“Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue for ever in your sight; for you, Sovereign LORD, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed for ever.’”
2 Samuel 7:28-29
“‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’”
“In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
Book of Common Prayer
“Almighty Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern, both our hearts and bodies, in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments; that through thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen”