Thoughts from the Sickbed

I spent the last four days mostly horizontal, with a substantial and oscillating fever along with other assorted symptoms.  I had plenty of time to think.

  1. My wife is a wonderful helper.  She served Judah and me without complaint for the last five days.  It is humbling to be served so graciously.
  2. The Lord’s timing is mysterious.  My four-day flu corresponded perfectly with our annual Outreach Week.  Along with the rest of Student Life, I was signed up to serve on a team for four days.  I missed the whole thing, including Sunday.  What was the Lord’s purpose in that?  I don’t know.  And I’m not sure that always adding some profound statement to my “I-don’t-know” honors Him a ton more than the simple statement itself.  I acknowledge the mystery.
  3. I am so frail.  It’s amazing what a few degrees of internal temperature change can do to the perfectly calibrated human body.  Not that I felt utterly miserable.  I just felt bad — I felt off.  Yet the lesson is not that the human body is frail.  The lesson is that I am frail.  There is a difference between those two conclusions.
  4. At the height of my fever (104), I considered where this could all be leading.  Of course, more serious stages of the flu, along with death, are always possible (though a remarkable number of people seem to laugh at the upcoming flu season with a laugh that seems to presuppose invincibility).  In a moment of Spirit-induced clarity, I realized that God desired my self-examination and repentance (James 5:14-16).  I found much pride, reputation-seeking, and self-perceived importance to turn away from.  It was sickening to see and frightening to acknowledge, yet refreshing to confess and to find forgiveness.  It makes me want to be much more sensitive to my sin, and increasingly aware of God’s efforts to reveal it to me.
  5. I watched the entirety of the legendary HBO mini-series Band of Brothers, which I hadn’t seen before.   I’d be remiss to leave you unwarned about the intense violence and language (war movie) along with one surprising and unnecessary scene near the beginning of episode #9.  Beyond that, it’s about the ordinary, valiant men of Easy Company — the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment assigned to the 101st Airborne Division during World War II.  They dropped on Normandy and functioned as the tip of the spear all over Europe for three years.  There are dozens of powerful insights and lessons I’m taking away from watching the series and the interviews with the actual veterans themselves.  Without a doubt, these guys were heroes.  And as always, one central element to heroism is the lack of pretension, that honorable lack of effort to be heroic.  I heard it more than a few times: “We was just doin’ our job.”  Makes my little flu bug seem completely insubstantial.

Judah prayed for me, out of the blue, a number of times.  Almost without fail, his prayers had something to do with “Daddy feeling better so he can play with me.”  For him, my restored health was not just for health’s sake, but for relationship, for fellowship, and for joy.  There’s something significant in that, and something precious.

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