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“Today we received a gift which we did not ask for; let us bestow alms to those who cry out to us and beg!” St. Ephraim the Syrian


Have you ever been so sick that you found yourself incapable of helping yourself gain a modicum of relief or rest? For most of us those moments are few and far between, thanks be to God. Yet even the healthiest of us have had a virus take over and ravage our bodies.

Last summer our whole family got taken over by a flu that knocked us out so hard we couldn’t do anything. There was an overlap between us parents unable to do, and our children so sick, just a whole family knocked out. The flu had won and we are at its mercy.

In our human bouts of sickness, we see a fundamental truth. Though often we try desperately to ignore the symptoms, this severe sickness is the most accurate diagnosis of the human condition apart from God.

The sickness of sin runs deep and infects us so utterly that we are left without the ability to seek healing and wholeness. Maybe we sense that there is a hospital for our souls, yet our weakness and sickness keeps us away.

Weak and weary, the words of Isaiah show us the truth: even though we cannot save ourselves, the Lord himself comes and finds us giving us the sign of hope:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14


Jesus Christ is the very presence of God with us, bringing healing to us that we were too weak to seek out, a gift we didn’t even know we could ask for.

And so we receive it in our weakness, share it with others in joy, and believe and trust Jesus is our health and the salvation of our bodies and souls. 

So consider this and ask yourself:

just as Jesus drew near to you in your sin and sickness when you didn’t expect it and couldn’t ask for it, how can you do the same for others, offering the gift of God’s mercy and love in word and deed to those who might least expect it?