I really, really do.
And as I type this, I am sick. Yuck.
The inside of my nose feels like it's been torched by a flamethrower. My throat feels like I've swallowed fiberglass. I can’t taste my food because my sinuses are so plugged up. My body feels like I've gone twelve rounds with a heavyweight boxer. My head is doing a rather fantastic job of imitating a jackhammer. And I just might have a fever.
You can probably tell, too, that I am not a good sick person.
I complain…a lot.
First of all, I'm just mad that I'm sick in the first place. Somehow I view it as a personal failure. Like there's something wrong with me because I can't fight off each and every germ that comes my way. I get angry with my body for being fragile. I also get kinda perturbed because I am the queen of waterless soap. Seems like I should be rewarded for my cleanly habits with ever-present good health, right??
Second, I don't do well with the symptoms.
I am annoyed by symptoms.
I get frustrated with stuffiness. I don't like having my ears painfully plugged up. "What??" I can't stand trying to find a comfortable position for my aching joints. (Just call me The Princess and the Pea – although you might want to wait until I'm not sick anymore…) And I hate waiting the 2 or 3 days it takes before my very sore throat gets *coated* and I can swallow easier.
Of course, I also try incessantly to discover why I got sick in the first place. I do this because then I reason I can avoid doing this again. But, in this crazy world, there are innumerable places that we come in contact with "stuff" – and we are always susceptible to invasion. Even in spite of waterless soap.
When I'm sick, I get awfully
I start feeling sorry for myself, and I want company all the time. My poor husband. He can't disappear for five minutes without me calling him. "I'm lonely. Where are you? Come sit in here by me."
Illness = Instant Regression to 5 Years Old.
I sometimes cry – though I try to limit crying until my throat feels better. Nothing like a good sob to inflame fiberglass. So, usually I just whimper a lot.
And, I just love how I look when I get sick.
My long hair is all tangled in the back of my head like the rear side of a tapestry. I avoid brushing my teeth. My eyes are watery and red. My skin is pale. I stay in the same clothes for days. I am a living example of the verse in 1 Peter that says, "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…"
Nope, not winning any pageants here – unless it's "Mrs. Congested Uncongeniality of 2015."
But, I've got to tell you something – "The Hub" is an amazing nurse.
He brings me all sorts of stuff, and sits with me, and mutters nice words of pity and encouragement. He rubs my feet and pats my head, and really does all he can to make me feel better.
He tells me he'd rather be sick than me. That he'd take it upon himself so I wouldn't have to suffer.
And you know what? He means it!!
And in these blistering days of brain fog, I realize one thing that's true.
My husband is being like Christ to me.
Here's how he’s doing that:
1) He commiserates with my infirmities
I've often wondered if Jesus ever got sick. The Bible tells us that He is our High Priest, tested and tempted in every area that we are. So, I'm going to assume that He felt the travails of being human, including being sick.
And if not sick, He certainly understood physical pain.
Jesus, uniquely God and man at the same time.
So, He knew what it was like to live without pain and disease and suffering. He knew what it felt like to be omnipotent. But, He also chose to enter the human condition – to experience the limitations and liabilities of being finitely ensconced in a frail and faulty body.
Therefore, Jesus empathizes with my illness.
"This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do…" (Hebrews 4:15, NLT)
2) He ministers to my needs
This is also what Jesus did. He met people where they were – sick, blind, lame, faithless, angry, depressed, lonely – you name it, Jesus was there, providing what people needed. Of course, the ultimate need that Jesus took care of was our "sin sickness." He did what it took to procure a permanent cure.
Always and forever, Jesus takes care of our needs.
"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, NIV)
3) He gives me comfort and encouragement
Oh, indeed! And is there any better comfort than knowing that Jesus cares for us? Is there any more encouragement than knowing that these temporary ills are just that – temporary? When our bodies fail, our spirits can soar in spite of them because of the hope we have for the future.
Jesus whispers promises of eternity to me.
"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…" (2 Corinthians 4:17, ESV)
4) He keeps me company
You know, being ill or physically impaired is really a lonely place. It can be very isolating to suffer. Sometimes people are "there" for us initially, but over time their presence can disappear. After all, it can be hard to be around someone who isn't well.
One can be reminded of their own frailties. Or they can tire of the demands of the afflicted person. Or they succumb to the depressing circumstances. Or they just run out of words to say.
But really, the very best comfort is just the presence of someone else.
In the beginning of his travails, Job's friends got it right – "Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words." (Job 2:13, NLT)
Sometimes that's all we need.
No words, no clichés, no platitudes.
Just someone's presence.
And the unflagging and unchanging presence of Jesus is something that we can count on in every single moment of our lives – now and forever.
"'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5, NIV)
5) He'd be willing to take my place
You know, it's rather amazing to me when my husband tells me he wishes he was sick instead of me. I've been known to say that to him, too, but maybe not always as sincerely! His pain at my pain is plain to see. He would do anything to spare me discomfort. He's so unselfish that way.
And Jesus – oh, do we need to say more about His self-sacrifice?!
He actually DID take our place. He did indeed transfer our pain and suffering and sin onto His own shoulders. God's pain at our pain was so intolerable that He sent His own Son to do something about it.
And Jesus willingly obeyed.
The Bible tells us that some of us might be willing to lay down our lives for another person.
"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die." (Romans 5:7, NIV)
But, would any of us ever think of dying for a traitor, a terrorist, or a murderer? Would we sacrifice our lives for someone who was absolutely "no good"? I think not.
But this is what Jesus did.
He died for us – when we were still sinners, and therefore abhorrent to God's perfect holy character. He died for us – when we were still enemies of righteousness. He died for us – when we didn't even fully realize that we needed Him.
He died for us – He took our place – because He loved us.
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us."
(1 John 3:16, NIV)
So, my friends, are you sick or suffering? Are you physically maimed or hurt? Are you groaning in the confines of your diseased and dying body?
Are you discouraged by the affliction of being human?
Then take heart!
For we have Jesus.
The One who commiserates with our infirmities, ministers to our needs, gives us comfort and encouragement, keeps us company…
And not only was willing, but did indeed take our place.
Can you hand me a kleenex?
And not for my stuffy nose this time…
My heart is overwhelmed by my Savior's presence.
My New Best Friends
"The LORD nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health." (Psalm 41:3, NLT)
"My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever." (Psalm 73:26, NLT)
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." (2 Corinthians 4:16, ESV)
"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NASB)
"...after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen."
(1 Peter 5:10-11, ESV)
"'...I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.'" (John 10:28, NASB)
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.'
And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'"
(Revelation 21:3-5, ESV
What helps you deal with physical infirmity?
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