Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.(Isaiah 53:4-5)
In this day and age, many are physically sick and suffering from various illnesses and fatal diseases. In most cases, it is not through any fault of their own, but the result of a decaying world and bodies that simply cannot continue to do the things we once could do. Sin has damaged our bodies, our infrastructure, and our atmosphere!
But God knows our struggles, Jesus suffered physically and emotionally. He experienced our pains to a much greater degree that we ever will. He was cursed, falsely accused, falsely imprisoned, beaten to near death, and publically embarrassed and murdered for all to see. WHY? He had to take on the pain of sin for you and me. We now have a high priest who knows us and represents us before Almighty God the Father!
Not only do we have a heavenly representation for us, but God has established His Church to help us as well. This is why we need to belong to a local Bible-teaching church. We become accountable to that leadership and they are spiritually responsible for us as well. The local leaders are our physical representations of the Lord. Many of us know that at times we just need Jesus with skin on, a real person to cry with, laugh with, hug, or simply tell our story!
This is what James is saying below . . .
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.(James 5:13-16)
Prayer is still a powerful tool. Corporate prayer is even more powerful. Imagine Satan when he sees the force of hundreds of prayer warriors calling on the name of Jesus! I can tell you from personal experience, not only is the prayer of one believer powerful, but the more who pray for me, the bolder I become for the Lord! I am encouraged knowing my pastor, my family, and fellow believers are standing boldly with me before the Lord and against the enemy. I have seen the results . . .WOW!
The writer of Hebrews warns us to not get into the habit of . . .
giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.(Hebrews 10:25)
As times get more challenging and illnesses wear upon our bodies, it is time to step up our relationships with one another, not recoil. Establish relationships with strong believers . . . Share your faith with those who are hurting . . .Stay in contact with the Body. This is not the time to run, but STAND!!!!