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In Sickness and In Health - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
June 9, 2023 6:00 am

In Sickness and In Health - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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June 9, 2023 6:00 am

It’s easy to focus just on the good parts of marriage vows—health, wealth, and happiness. But as Pastor Skip shares today, God calls you to be there for your spouse in the bad times, too—in sickness as well as in health.


I want to look at this through the lens of Mr. and Mrs. Job.

We usually consider just one, and that's him. But there was a married couple involved here, and what happened to them is something that we can learn from. It's easy to focus just on the good parts of marriage vows, health, wealth, and happiness. But as Pastor Skip shares today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, God calls us to be there for our spouse in the bad times too, in sickness as well as in health. But first, we want to tell you about a resource that'll connect you with God's special design for fathers. Men in America need to step up and take responsibility for raising the children they father. Boys growing up without male influence get involved more easily in drugs, crime, and socially destructive behavior, and they are likely to repeat the cycle of abandoning their children. Dads Make a Difference. That's the title of a critical issues package that is a must for men of any age or stage of life. As a father and a pastor, I'm deeply concerned for the families in our nation. It's clear that so many destructive trends are related to the lack of a dad's influence in the lives of their children. We need to educate men on what biblical manhood truly means. The Dads Make a Difference package includes seven of Skip Heitzig's most important messages to men, along with the full hour video documentary, Where's Dad?

hosted by Skip. I think it's safe to say that the family is under attack today. I know that's a phrase that you have heard me say. In fact, I'll tell you the truth. I've said that sentence for 40 years, and every year it's been true. And today it's truer than ever before.

It is worse than ever before. Get this package in either digital download or on CD and DVD when you support Connect with Skip with your gift of $50 or more. You'll be joining us as we take Skip's Bible teaching into more major cities.

Request the Dads Make a Difference package online at or by calling 1-800-922-1888. Okay, let's open up our Bibles to Job chapter one as we join Skip today. Three and a half years ago, my wife Lenny and I took a journey that we never planned on taking. We joined a club we didn't want to join. It was a journey that would test the vows that we had taken so many years before.

Part of the vow say in sickness and in health to love and to cherish. The best way I can describe it is it's like somebody handed you tickets to get on a train that you really didn't want to get on, but they came to you out of the blue and said, here's tickets. You're going on this train. You can't get off this train until it lets you off. Because it felt like that when we went to the doctor and the doctor gave that quizzical doctor look.

You know the kind I'm talking about? And just said, I'd like to run more tests and I'd like to run them today. You know something's up. And he scheduled a regiment of testing to be done, including a CAT scan, because he said, Lenya, you have a mass in your abdomen the size of a grapefruit. It needs to be taken out. Surgery was scheduled within a week and the mass was taken out. I was handling it. We were going through that regiment of appointments, etc. And I was doing OK until the doctor came out of surgery and he looked me in the eyes and he said, I think we got it all. But then he said, but I want you to know it was malignant. And what that meant to us is that once the wound was healed, there would be a series of many months of chemotherapy. Some of you know what that is like. And then the day that's over, you see me in six months and then six months and then a year, and there's always another checkup, always another checkup. Most couples will tell you that sickness isn't what they were thinking of when they shared their marriage vows with each other.

That doesn't come into their purview. I was reading the blog of a young couple this week and she wrote, we had been engaged for 13 months with 22 days until the big day when Matt, age 23, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. We could never have predicted this with no history in the family, no smoking. Now, in the blog, she said, God gave us peace.

We believe he's in control. But she underscored this wasn't in our plans. Have you discovered that life is a series of getting used to things you never planned? So every couple says those vows, for better, for worse, richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Everybody says them, but I believe that very few consider what they're saying. Most couples, I think, when they get married, they only hear the better, richer, and health part. They only hear the better, richer, and health part.

They're the better, richer, and health part of that promise. But you see, that's why we say vows. That's why we say promises to each other, because though those vows are general, they're pretty comprehensive in scope. They cover any and every eventuality that could occur even until death do us part. You see, married couples are never allowed to say, I promise to love you as long as everything goes okay, or I promise to love you as long as you're pretty and I'm handsome and we make a combined income of over $75,000 a year, or I promise to love you, but if we get ugly or poor or a disease strikes one of us, we're going to exchange our rings back.

Deal? It doesn't work that way. It's a permanent commitment. Marriage vows, as you saw even in the video, are more than a present declaration. They're a future commitment.

That's why I always ask couples not to say I do, but I will. I do means now. I will means now and in the future. And some of you said your vows so long ago. So what was future to you then is present to you now. You're today in the midst of some kind of suffering, some kind of challenge. For some, it's financial. For others, it's relational.

For others, it's health issues, like what we want to talk about. I think it's best if you see your marriage like the 20th floor of a building that has no exits, so that if a fire breaks out on the 20th floor, there's no windows for you to jump out of. There's no skylights for you to climb through.

There's no elevator or staircase that'll take you to the bottom and get you out. A fire breaks out on the 20th floor, you have one of two options. Number one, burn to death. You let the problem consume you. Or number two, you fight the fire together. And the firestorm of health challenges can be pretty monumental.

I look over a congregation, and some of you, I know by name and by face and by circumstance, and I know that you have suffered in the area of health issues, or you've lost loved ones, or you're dealing with that presently. So I've asked you to turn to Job chapter one and two for this reason. I want to look at this through the lens of Mr. and Mrs. Job.

We usually consider just one, and that's him. But there was a married couple involved here, and what happened to them is something that we can learn from. So I'm going to notice four principles in Job one and two.

The first is the most obvious. Sickness is universal. It's universal.

It's common to all mankind. Did you know that most Bible scholars consider the book of Job to be the oldest in the Bible? They fit Job in the times of the patriarchs, which is between 2,000 B.C. and 1,000 B.C. Chronologically, for reasons I don't have time to go through right now, the book of Job fits best after the Tower of Babel, Genesis 11, and before the life of Abraham, Genesis chapter 12.

That means, if that's true, that Job is like one of the oldest dudes ever. And I bring that up to show you that suffering goes all the way back to the beginning. All people have suffered. All people at some time in their life have gotten sick, even good people, even God's good people. Job chapter one, verse one, there was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job.

I don't know where Uz is exactly. I have a clue, but I don't know. And that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil. Seven sons and three daughters were born to him, and his possessions were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys in a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East. The word greatest would be better translated, the largest, or a better translated, the largest, or a better translation would be, he was the heaviest. Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking in terms of body type. Thinking of some fat old dude named Job in a tent.

But that wouldn't be the idea. The idea of this Hebrew word is that he had a heavy or weighty reputation. He was a man of integrity. He loved his God.

He hated evil, and people knew him with that weighty reputation. In fact, in the Bible, Job is compared to Noah and Daniel in Ezekiel chapter 14. In the New Testament, he's seen as the example of perseverance, James chapter 5. All about to say that no one deserved suffering less than Job.

No one got it, perhaps as much as Job did. Few have suffered like Job have suffered, and yet he was a godly man. And this is what bothers us about the book of Job.

This is what unhinges us a little bit about reading this book. We don't like it because we're dealing with a guy who was a man of integrity, who loved God, who served the Lord, and yet he was stricken with disease and hardship. And it bothers us because typically whenever a problem like of this magnitude comes close to our lives, we typically say, why would a God of love allow that? How could God, if he loved me, allow that to happen? You remember Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus was sick? Jesus wasn't around. He was sick, looked like he was going to die. They sent him a note. This is John chapter 11.

Remember what it said? The one whom you love is sick. It's a very telling statement. The one whom you love is sick. You love Lazarus, Jesus, but the one you love is sick, and it looks like he's going to die, come quickly. Sickness shouldn't surprise us, even when it strikes the ones that God loves, because the man that Jesus loved was still a man. And if you look in Scripture and you look throughout history and you look around, you understand that sickness is universal. It happens to everyone. I remember when Dr. Walter Martin, who's now in heaven, came and spoke here.

He said, skip, we all die of our last disease. Very profound, isn't it? It'll strike you eventually. In chapter five of Job, he will say, man is born to trouble as surely as the sparks fly upward.

You can count on it. It's like a law of nature. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, one of my faves, said, the love of Christ does not separate us from the common necessities and infirmities of human life. Men of God are still men.

The covenant of grace is not a charter of exemption from disease. Three tragedies struck the life of Job. First was terrorism. If you look in verse 15, it mentions the Sabians raided them and took them away. Verse 17, the Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels, and took them away. These were nomadic tribes, like Bedouin tribes, who went out and raided. They're from the Saudi Arabian Peninsula, and they went out in ancient times frequently to raid, to conquer, and to break.

To raid, to conquer, and to plunder. That was number one, terrorism. Number two, natural disaster. What insurance companies call acts of God. Look down at verse 16. The fire of God fell from heaven. That's probably a description of a lightning strike that hit the earth and a fire ensued. Verse 19, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house. Quite a wind to knock down a house. You know that in this part of the world, especially in the Arabian Peninsula, there's a wind called the Shamal. I did a little research on it. It can get so fierce that it can strip the paint off automobiles.

You think you have it bad here in the spring. That's a wind. But it didn't just strip the paint off of the cars, or the camels. It took the lives of Job's kids, all of them, in chapter one, die by terrorism and natural disaster. There's a third thing that happened to Job, disease. Chapter two, verse seven. So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.

And he took for himself a potsherd, a little piece of broken pottery with sharp edges, with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes. Now we don't know what disease he had. There's been several guesses by the medical community. Some see this as the first stage of leprosy, boils break out on the skin. That's the first manifestation of myobacterium leprae, it is called, the technical term. Others say it was a case of elephantiasis.

I don't think Job cared what you called it. He just knew it hurt immensely. So he went, here's what I want you to get from one day where life is good, got the kids around, I'm eating a falafel with my wife in the tent, to I'm dazed and confused and I have this debilitating and life-threatening disease. All of that to point to our first truth, and that is sickness is universal. It's common to mankind. The second truth is that though sickness is universal, sickness, when it happens to you, feels personal. It's very isolating.

It's confined to me. Here's the problem I've discovered with our typical reading of the book of Job. Most of us know what happens to Job and we consider him, but most of us forget that it also happened to Mrs. Job. They were a married couple. There was a mutual pain that happened.

Think about this now. Both of them lost property. Both of them lost income.

Both of them lost all of their children. The pain that Job felt was the pain that Mrs. Job felt. There's a commonality and a mutuality in this pain. Yet on the other hand, it's very personal. Job comes down with the disease. Mrs. Job becomes the caregiver of one who has the disease. Now the pain is becoming more personal and more isolating.

Here's the deal. When sickness hits a family, everyone is affected, not just the one who gets sick, and it feels very personal. They share the common experience, but it touches each one differently. One may be vocal.

One may be withdrawn. One may get angry. One may get weepy.

Still another may be very positive and we're going to work through this. But each one feels like they are experiencing it and no one else is quite like that. So the caregiver, the Mrs. Job, might say, you don't understand how hard this is for me. I have to care for you 24-7.

While the one with the sickness, in this case Job, could think, look, I'm the one with the disease. You don't understand how isolating this experience feels. You see, that's the nature of suffering. It's so all-absorbing that typically you are the only one you think about when it happens.

You're carrying your own portion of the weight. So here's the key. The key is to move from the personal to the practical. It's very personal. You have to move that to the practical.

How do you do that? By communication. At some point, you have to communicate your feelings to every other person in that family system so that everyone understands how the others are coping with it, what the expectations are, because some of those expectations are unrealistic and others are realistic. You need to communicate that because decisions, perhaps, may have to be made about long-term care. You may have to bring a nurse in.

You might have to bring a therapist in. Or you might have to make a decision about permanent care, a facility, a nursing home. But when there's clear communication and a clear plan that is understood by all and what our part, what our role is going to be in this, that moves it from the personal to the practical, and that makes life more manageable. And a good counselor and a good friend, a good friend, can help that family manage through that. I bring up a good counselor because in chapter 2, Job has some friends that come and act as counselors. And the bulk of the book, the rest of the book, the rest of the book is about their bad counsel, right? It got so bad that Job finally turned to them and said, miserable comforters are ye all. You came as my counselors, came as my friends, but I consider you my frenemies.

You're not really helping me out a lot. But what I want you to know, because we're not going to get into that, is that at first, these friends, these counselors, these comforters were good. They were great. At first, they were awesome.

And here's why. They didn't say a single word. They just sat there and they listened and they watched. And can I just tell you that's helpful? There's something called the ministry of presence. You just show up. You don't have to say much.

You can offer a prayer. You don't have to explain everything. You just listen. But Job's counselors didn't stop there. They opened their mouths and they spoke for chapter, after chapter, after chapter, after chapter, after chapter, after chapter. It's a long book, after chapter, after chapter. And with everything they said, Job felt more and more isolated, more personal, more withdrawn. So let me give a word to the well. If you're healthy and you're going to get around somebody who isn't, you don't have to explain everything to them. Let me give you the theological reasons for the suffering of the world. Stop.

Not going to be helpful right now. Listen to the words of one sufferer. I was sitting torn by grief. Someone came and talked to me of God's dealings and of why it happened and of hope beyond the grave. He talked constantly. He said things I knew were true, but I was unmoved except to wish he'd go away. He finally did. Another came and sat beside me and he didn't talk much.

He didn't ask leading questions. He just sat beside me for an hour or more, listened when I said something, answered briefly, prayed simply and left. I was moved. I was comforted and I hated to see him go. Listen, it's easy to play Monday morning quarterback with somebody else's suffering, but it's not helpful. Walk softly around a broken heart.

A good friend will do that. Sickness is universal. Sickness feels personal. Here's a third principle that we see in Job.

Sickness can be detrimental because when one spouse gets sick, things get complicated in the relationship very quickly. Look at chapter two, verse nine. Then his wife said to him, do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die. Curse God and die.

Well, thank you, sweetheart. But he said to her, you speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and shall we not accept adversity? And all this Job did not sin with his lips. You know what she's saying, right? She's saying, would you quit being Mr. Holy here? Just get your life over with.

God will probably strike you dead if you just blaspheme him and then you won't have to suffer. You could have cut the tension in that tent with a knife. The dynamic between Mr. and Mrs. Job is very complicated. The sickness is detrimental to their relationship at this point. That's Skip Heitzig's message today from the series, Keep Calm and Marry On.

Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and complete teaching series at Now, let's go in the studio with Skip and Lenya with news about a trip to Israel you can take. I'm guessing that many of you have thought about, talked about, maybe even dreamed about visiting Israel.

Well, let's make that happen. Lenya and I are taking a tour group to Israel next summer in 2024. And I can't wait. We'll start in Tel Aviv, head north to Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, and the Jordan River. We'll spend several days in Jerusalem and see the Garden of Gethsemane, the Upper Room, and so much more. And we'll wrap it all up with a swim in the Dead Sea. Now, I've been to Israel many times, like over 40. In fact, I can honestly say, though, that visiting the places where the Scriptures unfolded, where Jesus lived out his earthly ministry, it never gets old.

No, it doesn't. The incredible sightseeing will be punctuated by times of worship and teachings that you'll never forget. And Jeremy Camp and Adie Camp will be with us to lead worship. Make plans to join us next summer in Israel. See the itinerary and book this Israel tour with Pastor Skip Heitzig at slash C-A-B-Q. That's slash C-A-B-Q. Join us next time as Skip concludes his message in sickness and in health and offers practical wisdom for spouses who are called on to be caregivers. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-09 05:09:46 / 2023-06-09 05:19:11 / 9

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