It is to the benefit of the church that she experiences the same trials as the world whether it’s physical sickness or poverty. It is rather a physical camouflage for the church to reduce her persecutions.
Christ had never said that we would be known as his disciples when we’re either rich or poor. He never said that his followers would be known by their physical health. He never said that they would be known by their eloquence or lack of. What Christ said instead was: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”. (John 13:35)
External attributes are to the service of false humility. But love serves the true humility. Not the love of others as yourself, but the love of God for you and others, the love that surpasses human understanding.
Had the church been the physically healthiest, materially wealthiest, and mentally smartest, then Christians all over would have had to be on the run away from poachers seeking to capture and sell to the highest bidder because scientists would be needing an immeasurable sample to cut open and study in seeking to understand what makes the church disease-free, poverty-free, and so knowledgeable.
Thanks be to God that on the exterior we look and sound nothing different from the rest of the world. Had Jesus looked any different than his companions, they would have easily found him and would have had no need for Judas to expose him.
Even as citizens of heaven, we’re covered with an earthen cloak to suffer to our own good. What matters is not the earthen cloak we wear, but the divine body of Christ we are. And we’re such by the work of the Holy Spirit (birth, growth, life, walk, work), not to the glory of our earthen vessel but to the glory of our divine vessel, Christ Jesus.
“This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” (1 John 4:17)
No one is to believe that you are a Christian when you become rich or poor. No one is to believe that you are a Christian when you become healthy or sick. No one is to believe that you are a Christian when you seem intelligent or wise. Everyone is to believe that you are a Christian after hearing the gospel message confessed by you in joy and peace.
Thank God for the sickness, thank God for the hard times, because of them you’re less of a target by the enemy who seeks to convey others otherwise because you suffer as they do. And should you suffer for one last time, may it be by grace to the glory of your confession of the love of God for the whole world, Christ Jesus.
“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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
Consider it pure joy by faith, not by sight. As Christ bore our resemblance and suffered, we have to look like the world to be listened to by the world. It’s a very light burden compared to that of Christ on the cross for the entire world.
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14-18)