When I was Sick…

By: Deji Yesufu

On the 7th of February, 2024, I lost two friends to the cold hands of death. Deji Olukole and Sola Wojuola died at the University College Hospital Ibadan at different times on that day. Deji is a few years younger than me so I didn’t associate with him that much when I attended church at Vine Branch, Mokola, Ibadan. Sola was, however, my paddi. I have written a glowing tribute to him and will be publishing that article after his burial. I had known of Sola’s illness and had joined family and friends to pray for his recovery. One particular evening in January, I called Sola and asked after his health. He told me he had just received news that his illness had returned. He was confident that he would be fine after a third surgery (He didn’t survive that surgery). I visited Sola the following day at his house, and we had a long discussion. I remembered leaving him that day on the road that led up to his house. I refused to look back at him – I was almost sure it would be the last time I would see him alive. I would prefer to look forward to meeting Sola at Christ’s feet than looking back.

Another story: In the year 2000, I had finished at school and had only 4 courseworks to do in my first semester. The second semester was free. I had loads of time in my hand, and so I turned to theology. About that time, I had seen Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:37-38 – “… Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me….” I saw here Jesus saying he was sick. I brought my theological concern to my friend, Adoyi Paul, who urged me later to write my thoughts in a book. I wrote “ON DOCTRINE AND PRACTICES: A Critical Evaluation of a Local Church’s Doctrine and Practices” as a result. The book essentially was my reflection on what I felt were wrong in the local Pentecostal gathering I was with in the first two years of being converted to Christianity. In that book, I explained to my readers that there is no way a church can teach that sickness is some kind of evil. Because here is Jesus saying he was sick! My thoughts on the errors of the Word of Faith doctrine were developing, and I would eventually renounce Pentecostalism years after.

Here is one fact of life we can not avoid or wish away: as much as we love health, this body we live in is dying. If we are not sick today, one day we will be sick. Most people who do not die of accidents or are not murdered will almost certainly die of one illness or the other. What kills most elderly folks is “organ failure”: some useful organ that has served them all their lives will suddenly pack up and death results. The stupidest theology, mindset, or worldview is a thinking that one can never be sick; or, that one could have divine health; or, that one could pray away illness. Illness is a reality of life. Both the wicked and the righteous will fall ill. Both the wicked and the righteous could die of sickness. Historically, only cults in Christendom believe it is unchristian to be ill. The Christian science theology invented the idea that illness was antithetical to the Christian faith. The cults of Christian Science and the errors of E. W. Kenyon gave us the false theology of Kenneth Hagin – a subject I have no space to deal with in this essay.

Suffice to state here that you and I will be ill, and that you and I will die. So it is a sensible individual that prepare for these eventualities. First, I think it is wise to state that modern medicine and many discoveries around health and diet, have shown that there are many things we can do to delay these eventualities. We should eat well, exercise, and do regular health checks. These measures will mainly delay the natural eventualities. Eventually, as with Elisha, who died by the sickness that killed him (2 Kings 13:14), we will face our mortality one day. What then do we do to prepare for it. I think the first thing to do is to learn the art of visiting the sick. Do what Jesus commanded and realise that when people are ill, Jesus is ill also. Understand also that in the same way we visit the sick, others will visit us when we are sick. Therefore render counsel to the sick in the same manner you will want people talk to you on your sick bed. Pray for the sick and support the sick. Lastly, realize that you will be rewarded for supporting the sick in the day of the Lord. Someone told me of relatives who despise their own blood relations when those ones are sick. They will receive their reward in kind.

Second. Find peace with God through Jesus Christ. I love to tell the story of the final days of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Lloyd-Jones retired as minister at Westminster Chapel, London, in 1968. Afterwards, he begun itinerant ministry. He was forced into retirement because of illness. In 1981, at age 82, “the Doctor” was facing another round of surgeries. He told his family not to bother: “ do not keep me from the glory…” He died a few days after peacefully in his home and not at the hospital. Lloyd-Jones, like many other Christians, can talk like this because heaven is real to them. They long for their union with Jesus Christ because their sins have been forgiven. Nothing reveal the falsehood of men’s religion more than their behaviour on their deathbeds. Our own beds are being prepared and it is mercy that grant one to lie on one, so as to adequately prepare for one’s final days.

Deji Olukole died at 40. Sola Wojuola died at about 47. There is no such thing as an untimely death. Men spend the amount of days on earth that God has prepared for them. I do agree that some men’s sins shorten their days but even that is under God’s gracious sovereignty. But no Christian dies by attacks of devils. Christians die when God says it is time. And your time could come through an illness. Prepare for your own illness by being gracious to the sick and by finding peace with Christ.


Deji Yesufu is the pastor of Providence Reformed Baptist Church, Ibadan. He is the author of HUMANITY

Posted by Deji Yesufu

One Comment

  1. Please, accept my deepest condolences on your friends’ transition to glory. I pray that the Comforter will grant the families the comfort they need to bear the passing of their sons.

    Your comments on the false doctrine of health and wealth reminds me of a video of Kenneth Copeland. In the video the grand wizard of the Word of Faith Movement boasted of living in divine health. Yet, in the same video, he spoke of how he developed symptoms of heart failure and he went to see the Cardiologist who told him he needed to get a pacemaker. After a bit of hesitation, he claimed he heard God tell him to receive the pacemaker now. So, he went and got the pacemaker.

    Here is a man who preaches divine health to his gullible followers, yet he is going about with a pacemaker in his chest. How about that for a divine health?


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