Before I begin I must mention that when I use the word ‘sick’ I am talking about sicknesses (or disabilities) like, Alagille Syndrome, or any other chronic illnesses such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, coronary heart disease, cone-rod dystrophy… the list goes on and on, and in other letters of the alphabets too.
While there are a lot of negatives to being sick, there are 2 very important benefits of being sick. At the top of my head one thing that I can think of is the trip to USA in 2012 – thanks to Make-A-Wish Australia my family and I were able to experience LA, Disneyland, Universal Studios, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills and more! It was the trip that I will never forget, but besides getting that wish granted the more important benefits of being sick (or disabled) are much more meaningful. I know that the 2 very important benefits of being sick are…
1 It can help others
Have you ever heard of Helen Keller? Or the quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada? People like these ladies have used their sicknesses and disabilities to help others, and are still helping others today. They have used their inequities to inspire many individuals around the world, and it was all thanks to their sickness/disability, because of their illnesses they have gone through things that not everyone can understand (Especially Tada. I highly recommend you read her autobiography, Joni. It’s so raw and real.). You see, depending on how a person perceive their problems, he or she has the power to use their story to encourage and inspire others, and when I say ‘others’ it’s for anyone, not just people who are sick or disabled.
What if Keller or Tada had kept to themselves, shut the world out, and allowed their sickness and disability to demoralise them? What if they were grumpy and bitter at their circumstances? What if they complained and whined about every single thing in life? Today we wouldn’t know who these women are, more importantly, today they wouldn’t have made a global impact. If you didn’t know, Helen Keller was deaf and blind when she invented the braille, and I know not every single sick person in this world is going to invent something or make a global impact so right now let me explain that I am only using Keller and Tada as an example. You don’t need to be exactly like them to be able to help others with your sickness. You just need to be similar to them – use your own sick story to help others in your own way at your friendship groups, community, club, or wherever. This is one of the reasons why you have your sickness, and you may not know it, but someone out there could be uplifted by your story today.
2 It can help you
Living with a sickness can help you, personally, and spiritually. Here’s what I mean. Have you ever heard the lyric to the Kelly Clarkson song, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? This is exactly my point. Having an illness can make life harder, but as long as it doesn’t kill you, you can be sure that the trials you face can build you up. With the right mindset like Keller and Tada, character can be build, compassion can be shown, life can be understood (There is more to life. Life is short. The sickness is only temporary etc.) and other lessons can be learned.
There are a lot of verses in the Bible that talks about trials, suffering, and hardships, but I want to bring up just one today.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. -James 1:2-3 (NIV)
Did you notice that it says we are to consider it pure joy when we are faced with trials of many kinds? I realise that this is a hard task to do, especially if you’re in the emergency department because you’ve just lost one third of your body’s blood (you can read more about this here), but I also realise that the reason we are asked to be joyful is because of the bigger picture. The bigger picture of building our faith, our patience, our spiritual growth, and our walk with God. When the big picture is captured the trials that is being faced can be a little easier and this is when joy jumps in (this is when you can be joyful in times of trials).
Now, I gotta admit, this post is pretty short and simple, and it is not a powerful post where there’s so much motivation, inspiration, and insights to it, but the truth is, the benefits of being a sick patient/having a chronic illness are, helping others, and helping you, it is just that simple.