Isaiah 53:7 "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth:"
Shortly after his conversion, Louis suffered an accident that left him with rheumatism, a life-long debility, and ongoing pain, as described in his brother's biography:
"In the first year of his sojourn there [Lauenburg] an incident occurred which brought a trial to his whole life. No Christian is fully prepared to serve God without a cross, and in that time he received his, for until then, with his iron constitution and strong will, he had evaded sickness; but now God took him into the school of affliction and kept him there. In the three classes of “I may, can, and must" suffer, he learned his lessons well.
His affliction dated from a sledding party upon the frozen Elbe. My brother, having on skates, had the honor of drawing the sled of the Lady von Linstow. So went they to and fro upon the smooth surface, until they reached the place where the Steckenitz River flows into the Elbe, and was not so solidly frozen. Louis did not remember the exact bounds, and when he reached the Steckenitz the ice broke with the weight and they went under. But by God's mercy Louis succeeded in placing one foot upon a pile, and although he could not regain his footing upon the ice, as every effort he made caused it to break in his grasp, yet with half his body out of the water succeeded in keeping both from drowning. The lady fainted, and her helplessness added to his burden. At length assistance came, and, after much exertion, they were rescued. The lady was taken to the nearest dwelling, and Louis ran in his wet clothing, which froze upon him, to the castle to get dry garments for her, thinking not of his own condition until she was again in her own home.
From that time he was afflicted with rheumatism, which accompanied him to the latest day of his life; he was a cross-bearer, but also a Christ-bearer."—Theodore Harms, Life Work of Louis Harms
The rheumtism proved a heavy burden, for it frequently kept him from sleeping for the rest of his life. Weakened and tortured by physical pain, which seldom left him, he bravely and patiently bore it, refusing to take opiates, and accepting his affliction as the Lord's way of humbling. Like so many great people, Louis saw in his trial blessings:
"It is true that I suffer much everyday," he said, "and more every night. I do not wish it otherwise. My Savior is my physician. I love to lie awake the entire night, because I can then commune with Him."
He came to realize that affliction was a blessing. Note the following:
"God has greatly blessed us this year. Above all, He has blessed us with affliction. Christoffersen's death, bitter as it was for us, as been a rich, and perhaps the richest, blessing of all."
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."