I am still sick and have been for a week and a half with a bad cold. It is never fun to be ill but when you cough so much that your belly muscles hurt it really isn’t much fun! In fact at night I can’t lay down to sleep so I try to sleep sitting up laying my head on a pile of pillows. Of course that doesn’t work very well so I don’t sleep much and what little sleep I do get isn’t the restful kind of sleep. This makes me tired and cranky. In fact I told my son yesterday when he first got up that I was tired and grouchy. I felt I ought to warn him and he seemed glad that I did! I was planning to go see the doctor this morning but the roads are too slick and I don’t want to wreck or fall and break my leg on the slick sidewalk so I came back home after taking my son to school. I will continue to push through the best I can until I either get better or the weather is better so I can travel safely to the doctor’s office. Some of you already know that I was married to a doctor for years and my view of medicine is a little different than most peoples. I already know that there will be little they can do for me except to give a stronger cough syrup and perhaps an antibiotic which most likely isn’t really necessary. Colds are often just a virus that has to run its course and in due time I will feel better. There are some things I am learning through this illness that may be helpful to some of you as well.
As I was sitting in my car this morning warming it up before taking my son to school and the cold was very cold and the snow was falling I sort of lost it for a moment. I cried out to God and pleaded for His help and reminded God that I had been praying for healing ever since the cold began. I also reminded God that He said He would take care of me and I was getting very tired of being so alone and not getting the help from others I sometimes need. I was looking over at my neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk and the husband in that family had done a great job clearing the snow away and I suddenly felt very sorry for myself because I don’t have that extra helper anymore. My heart was crying out for relief and I know that God heard my prayer. My son came into the car and said to me, “Mom, I can’t wait until schools out so I can shovel snow tonight, I sure hope I don’t have any homework!” I knew right then that God was reminding me that I am not alone. Then as we were driving to school my son said that he would do the prayer for us today and he said the nicest most thoughtful prayer for me that all my despair and self-centeredness melted away. I knew God was working in my son to remind me that I am a blessed Mama to have such a fine son.
On my way back home is when I decided not to go to the doctor as I had intended because I felt the roads were too slick and I was concerned that I might fall on the icy sidewalk and make things in my life much worse than they already are. That is often how my thoughts run, always thinking of the worst that can happen and then trying to avoid it. I get home and check my e-mail and the person who feels like she gave me this illness wrote to me how sorry she was that I was sick and then told me the doctor had told her she just had a virus that was not contagious. I heard her feelings of guilt and my heart melted again. How could I ever make her feel better. She has nothing to feel guilty for because the truth is I get sick like this almost every year after Christmas. I think it is because I eat too many sweets, try to do too much stuff, and then when everyone is gone after Christmas I relax and get sick! It has been the pattern of my life for many years. I knew then that God was working through this loving person to remind me that I must think of others and not just of myself once more.
And then as I began to think about my situation God reminded me of two scriptures that I must share with you because this is a teachable moment in my life.
Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12: 6-10, (New International Version or NIV).
It isn’t that God has not answered my prayers for healing from this nagging cough and viral cold I am suffering with. No! God has heard and has answered my prayers with a resounding “NO!” For reasons I do not understand God has decided that I need to be reminded of the fact that He is in control of my life, every minute of every day and night. When the time is right this coughing will cease but in the meantime give Him glory and praise and honor just as I do when I am well. Perhaps I am in need of being reminded that my good health is a gift, a blessing from the Lord and that He is in charge of whether I feel good or not. Perhaps I was becoming conceited as Paul says that he was and so this illness came to remind me that God’s grace is sufficient for me. Perhaps it is that I needed reminded again that all my strength comes from the Lord and that without Him I am nothing but a coughing mess! Okay, I think you see where I’m coming from! Here’s the second passage I was reminded of today.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. Philippians 2:12-18, (NIV).
You see life goes on whether I feel good or not and there are daily tasks that must be completed. I need to make certain that we have food to eat, clean clothes to wear, and make certain my son gets to and from school every day. Bills need to still be paid and the house needs to be kept clean even though I don’t feel well. When I am sick, as I stated before, I tend to become grouchy and cantankerous. If you are honest you probably become cranky when you are ill as well. But Paul tells the Philippian church members that grumbling and cranky antagonistic behavior is a sin. God does not like grouchy people even if they are ill! God has allowed me to be ill and has chosen not to heal me immediately as I desire but I must be careful not to take my feelings of disappointment out on others. Wow! When I was reminded of this fact I have to admit it hurt! I have stopped the negative behavior and my son was thankful that my mood had improved and I am thankful too. We are to do everything…that means whether we are ill or healthy or happy or sad…everything without grumbling! Thank you God for these teachable moments in the midst of life!
Until next time…Katherine