“For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.”
God’s mercy extends to many categories. Here it was to Epaphroditus’ physical health.
“For indeed he was sick almost unto death”
Epaphroditus was with Paul for a long time. He was sick in Rome. The news traveled back to Philippi, which took months, and traveled back again to Rome. Their friendship was long and faithful.
The word “almost” is a nautical term for a ship coming alongside a dock. Death was about to go alongside. He was on the point of death.
Paul told the Philippian church that “Epaphroditus almost died on me.” But why did not Paul heal him? He was sick to the point of death. “Trophimus have I left in Miletus sick” (2 Ti. 4:20). It was God’s will for Epaphroditus to be sick. God shows some of His most extraordinary grace in illness. Lazarus’ sickness was for the glory of God:
“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4).
We glorify God in more than success; we honor Him in adversity.
Do we resent our setbacks? Or do we look upon adversity as an opportunity to glorify God? When our business fails, or we lose our health, do we show the greatness and glory of how God can take us through it?