I had a cold for most of the time I was in Nepal, which was not unusual anytime you bring people together from the four corners of the world and live in close quarters. But by Wednesday, I noticed that my cold was worsening. As I was coming out of the fog of jet lag, I entered into this physical funk where it wore me out to walk out to the shed to get some kindling.
By Friday, with the fever, cough, body aches and sore throat I realized that I probably had H1N1. It is the worse flu I’ve had in a decade; however, it is a much milder form than most people have had. After all I’m in that good age group of the 50s where you have some natural immunity.
It is a bit frustrating to be flat on my back now that I’ve recovered from jet lag. I have a demanding schedule at work plus a lot of prep-for-winter chores that I had not finished before my departure for Nepal. But my ordeal is so trivial in the scope of life and world affairs. However, it does remind me of a far more serious story a woman once told me.
She had a very successful ministry for a number of years with a group that helped the homeless in a major metropolitan area. Even though she was young (30 maybe) and healthy, she caught a cold that evolved into something far worse. She developed pericarditis which put her in the intensive care at the local hospital. She made a very slow recovery, being discharged almost a month later and then spending the next nine months on her back in a hospital bed in her apartment.
She said that the time of recovery seemed like an eternity. Each day, she slept, ate, pooped (if she was lucky) and peed. She didn’t have the strength to read and certainly not to study anything. The TV was often on in the room but she couldn’t follow the programs.
It was during this time she entered her first depression. The haunting notion was, “How could God love me when I doing nothing for Him?” It took her weeks, if not months, to work through that lingering question. But she finally did resolve it.
I think it was when she thought of John 13: 5-9 she came to her senses.
After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.She started to sense a truth along the following line of thinking, If you don’t sense God's love and acceptance when you do nothing . . . then you never can. She realized God’s Sabbath rest in Christ that it is Christ who does the work of righteousness. This concept changed her life from that point forward.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
"No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."
Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."
"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"
I know that when we left the mission field a long time ago, one of the hardest things for me to get a grip on was trying to get past imagining God’s constant disappointment in me. How could God love me when I wasn’t a missionary? My whole Christian paradigm before that had been based on me doing things to win God's good pleasure.
My little encounter with the flu will soon be over. Each day I feel 10% better than the day before. Hey, I’m sitting up writing on my blog tonight . . . on the couch under my sleeping bag. But if God can’t love us in the slacker places . . . then we never knew God’s love in the first place.