In John 11 Jesus deals with the reality of sickness and death as only He can. The story begins with Jesus being told, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” He replied, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it” (Jn 11:3,4).
We learn that those who love Jesus, and those whom He loves, still get sick and die. Jesus still loves them and they love Jesus. If “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword” will not “separate us from the love of Christ” (Rom. 8:35), then neither will whatever disease or sickness that Lazarus’ body succumbed to, nor will those that weaken us and our loved ones.
Believers don’t just passively endure these things without ill effect. We actively live through them to the glory of God. In Lazarus’ case, his immediate and startling resurrection caused many to praise God that day and for the months to come (Jn. 12:9). But there are many ways for God to be glorified in sickness and death. Faithful love and care “in sickness and health,” until parted by death; honoring parents, grandparents and other kinfolk over many years of aging and declining health; and sharing burdens and comforting in grief are all normal things for believers. These regular acts of extraordinary love and service are all to the glory of God.