Lessons We Can Learn As A Patient

By William C. Sexton

I have lived nearly 60 years, and in the last 24 hours I have learned a lesson that I never did grasp before: sick people cause others to worry, be anxious, be troubled more than the sick.

Yesterday I was told that I have a tumor on my intestine, and tomorrow I shall enter the hospital for exploratory surgery. Later, according to present plans, I shall have 4 or 5 weeks of radiation treatments with the aim of decreasing the size of the tumor, and then the removal of it.

I am not all that anxious – believing that we have good doctors, equipment, a lot of knowledge relative to the body, etc. and a wonderful God in heaven watching over us. I recognize that one day, too, either shortly or in some years, I shall pass from this life – into eternity! I feel that I am ready to go, if this is the time; if it is not, I’ll gladly try to live the rest of the years, days, months, etc. which the Lord allows me. Certainly, I don’t mean to demean fife and suggest in anyway that I do not enjoy life.

Yet, it has been impressed on my mind that my loved ones – wife, son, daughters, mother, sisters, brothers, etc. are having a lot of mental anguish. Each is taking time, making effort, and spending his resources to act in the way that seems appropriate. I can and certainly do appreciate their concern. Yet, it has just dawned on me, that this is the way it is: sick people, even those dying and knowing it, if they are faithful Christians don’t suffer as the surviving!

This is a lesson that I have failed to grasp, as I now do, all the thirty plus years that I’ve been working with people.

Possibly, you, brothers and sisters – seeking to help others, may consider this point: The surviving, well people, possibly need more help than the sick, even the terminally ill . . . if they are Christians!

Is this in line with what Paul said, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith” (Phil. 1:23-25).

I have read, meditated on this passage, and quoted it many times, but I believe that I have a greater understanding and appreciation for what it is saying, now – as I experience this present situation in my life.

May God bless us with the state of mind to learn from all our circumstances in life! He is truly great and good! Life is short, death is sure, and eternity is long! Let us remember what John was caused to write:

“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13).

Guardian of Truth XXXII: 19, p. 582
October 6, 1988