In our prayer list at Country Bible Church we are constantly praying for those who are sick or who have undergone operations or have contracted some disease and our prayer is always for healing. We pray that God has 17 healingmercy on them and on those who love them by granting the request for healing. Sometimes He does. Sometimes He doesn’t. Epaphroditus was an emissary from the Philippian church to Paul in Rome. While there he became sick. We don’t know exactly what that illness was but the word got back to Philippi and all were praying for his healing. Paul reports in his letter God’s answer to their prayers. In Philippians 2:27 he says regarding Epaphroditus, “Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.”

James Montgomery Boice observes, “This fact leads us to some interesting thoughts on the sickness that many Christians have endured… Some people have taught that health is a birthright of Christians and that sickness is the result of sin or a lack of strong faith. Others, like Job’s comforters, have said that sickness is always a sign of God’s chastening. These thoughts are not true, and the case of Epaphroditus refutes them. Epaphroditus was a man who, Paul says, was to be held in the highest honor. Yet he grew sick in the midst of the most unselfish Christian service. Moreover, he was sick for some time.”

Isaiah writes, “with his stripes, we are healed.” Many apply this passage to physical healing as well as spiritual and emotional healing. It aroused the question of what kind of healing is to be experienced in Christ’s atonement for our sins. I will always argue that all three are ours. First there is Spiritual healing. We have complete forgiveness of our sins through faith in Christ. Yet, don’t think that the struggle with sin is over in this life. We still wrestle with the dark one, our sinful natures, and the temptations of the world around us and sometimes we sin again. There is emotional healing as well. All of the abuse and misuse we’ve experienced in this life is undone by the cross. But we still wrestle with unstable emotions in this life. There is physical healing as well, but we still get sick, we still get hurt, we still contract diseases and we still die! Yet there is a time coming when we will be completely healed of all maladies of this life. Paul has been delivered from his ever present thorn in the flesh. Epaphroditus has been healed of all diseases and sicknesses and we and all our loved ones will be healed also. We may not see it in this life, but I’m convinced that “God had mercy” on us all and will deliver us all. We have sorrow in this life, but God will not let us have “sorrow upon sorrow.”