What Does the Bible Say About Chronic Illness?

What does the Bible say about chronic illness? You don’t hear much about it. People do like to talk about the accounts of healing in the Bible because healing is a happy ending to a tough story. But while I believe in healing, God obviously doesn’t choose to do it for everyone. I’d even venture to say that in the Bible days and today, He even chooses not to heal more than He chooses to heal. Think about it: Jesus walked around with people for 33 years and saw many who were sick, or who died, or who lived with chronic illness, or who were depressed, and He did not heal them all when He could have. Can He still be a good God?

My “sweet stack.”


Jesus is good because He volunteered to come here in these tough conditions so He could dentify with us in them, in our humanness, and so we could know Him in them. We wouldn’t ever have been able to connect with Him if He had stayed in heaven, aloof to our pain and suffering, even though He knew what was in it for Him once He got here.  Jesus agonized badly over the sin-state of the world and all it did to the people He loved, and again, volunteered to give His life so He could save us from it and empower us to live wonderful lives in spite of it. When He prayed about His pending death, blood came through His pores (doctors call this “hematidrosis”). He knew Rome and that their execution methods were definitely “cruel and unusual,” but He came in spite of what was in it for Him because He loved you and me so very much. Frankly, I can’t stay away from a love like that.

Why Doesn’t God Heal Me?

Effectually, though, if God doesn’t heal me, how do I get through my battle with chronic illness, and why did He allow it? Some think bad things that happen are punishments for bad behavior. I don’t agree. I think it’s to give us the “treasures of darkness. “

“I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.” Isaiah 45:3

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I love this! I experience the “treasures of darkness” all the time. Here are some of them:

  1. He knows my name (that’s so wonderful!).
  2. He goes through hardships with me.
  3. He strengthens me right in the middle of them.
  4. He uses my condition to prove to me and the world that the pleasure of His company can make me joyful, strong, patient, and hopeful, and that I have every reason to love my life as it is.
  5. He shows me beauty; it’s like He points it out to me, and keeping an eye on what’s beautiful and excellent and right helps me maintain a healthy perspective, which is paramount to my overall health.

Words of Hope and Strength for Chronic Illness

Here are some Scriptures that give me strength and joy when I’m going through a hard time physically:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. Isaiah 43:2

He is familiar with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).  He gets my weakness, and He never condemns me for having them or fusses at me for being out of it when I’m sick. In fact, I’ve learned to see weakness as a holy place because I meet Him there so often. It’s like a flashpoint between heaven and earth. I’m weak. He’s there. Done deal.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows! Psalm 23:5 How bold of Him! Right there in front of my diseases, so to speak, God sets a gorgeous table of good things. He makes a point with this verse to show that blessing and even life-endangering threats can happen simultaneously. He doesn’t always make the hard stuff go away, but gives me joy and strength despite every contrary thing.

As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength. Psalm 138:3 Just the fact that the God of the Universe hears me when I talk to Him is comforting. I talk to Him all the time.

LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. Psalm 16:5 I rarely use plates, so I really connect with this. A cup full of His love and kindness is what I need most, and that makes me feel secure even in my weak time.

My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26 My “flesh” is my body, the outer me, and my “heart” is the inner me. Sometimes I run out of physical, mental, and emotional fuel, but He is my strength, whenever I need it. I’m strong in His strength and equal to whatever happens.

Finally, I always remember that things could be worse. Who knows what His grace has spared me from? Many people with my diseases have it worse than I do. Plus, I don’t have a problem finding food, I don’t live in a country where women can’t feed their children, where war, torture and devastation are a part of every day’s landscapes. I always have clean clothes to wear, medical care is always available if I need it, and there are measures I can take to make myself more comfortable on even the hardest days. I am amazingly blessed, and I am stronger when I remember that.

Do you have a favorite verse or a thought to share about God’s care for you in your trials?

If you’d like to send me a personal note, reach me at cathy@gentlepaleo.com.

We’re stronger together,





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