Since last Thursday I have been down with the flu. I happens about this time every year. My mother keeps telling me that I need to get a flu shot, but I keep reminding her that we should reserve the flu shots for those who really need them, you know, the older folks. But I am beginning to realize that maybe I am joining the ranks of the older folks. Besides, with five active children and a ministry that has me visiting and speaking with people who have active children, I have become accustomed to working in and through sickness. Yet, this time, God made sure I was sat down. I have spent the last couple of days in the bed, and though it was hard not getting out to pursue my passions, I was reminded just how loving and lovely God is when He afflicts us. The Psalmist said, "It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes" (Ps. 119:71). Uncontrollable sneezing, nasal congestion with headaches, nausea, and sleepless nights are not good things. And yet, they result in the good of me praying, meditating, and trusting in God. It is good that He loves me enough to do to me what I need, that I might know that He loves me. And during this bout with sickness God has particularly reminded me that He especially loved me in given me my wife.
Yesterday I was suppose to be at church preaching from Matt. 5:1-5 on the Beatitudes. As you can guess, I was not able to do it. I had spent all week with the first three beatitudes, had discussed them during our family devotion time, and had read several books on the subjects. I believe I was quite familiar with the beatitudes and quite confident in preaching them. And then I discovered one that I had taken for granted and had to be reminded of it. Perhaps you are not familiar with it (probably because it does not pertain to you), but I hope you will indulge this mostly healed preacher as he takes a little license and shares with you this new beatitude. It says, "Blessed is he who is married to Adriane, for he is beloved by a faithful wife." She has given herself to me during my sickness in ways of which I am not worthy. She has served me and our family and has not once complained or drawn back - ever asking if there is anything more she could do. Amazing Love, how can it be, that God would send such a wife to me. This almost recovered sinner is loved by God through a loving wife. This again is why I say "It was good to be afflicted."
...But it still hurts when I sneeze.