On Being Sick

Journal 2010. Sickness is tiring! And somewhat boring. I’m intrigued that I feel a sense of entitlement: Since I’m sick, I shouldn’t have to do dishes, cook supper, or clean house; and I should get to watch what I want on TV. But why should sickness entitle me to selfishness and self-centeredness?

When I don’t feel well, it’s very hard to be cheerful. It takes all my energy just to concentrate on performing simple tasks. I admire hurting friends who just keep on smiling in the midst of their pain. When I hurt, I want the world to know it.

I feel closest to the Lord when I feel the best physically—because I can concentrate on reading the Word and communing with Him. How can I do this with a headache or a stuffed-up nose, or I’m in so much pain I can’t focus?

I hesitate to pray for a deeper walk with God, for I fear it means affliction and trials and even illness. It’s like asking God for more patience when you know trials are what produce patience and endurance. It’s like hugging a warm coat tightly around me. I don’t want to open my coat to expose my skin to the elements just so I can learn to be tough. But God says if I remove the coat, I’ll draw closer to the fireplace of His warmth.

Another thought—what if I’m nowhere near a fire and a blizzard comes (circumstances beyond my control). It doesn’t make sense for me to take off my coat. I’ll wrap it even tighter around me. God says He can provide an extra blanket so I can weather it through.

Is it possible to experience more intimacy with God without going through trials? Can I trust Him to bring into my path that which will bring about my needed growth? I don’t want to stagnate, rot, mold, or wither. I want to grow, blossom, produce fruit and seed, and reproduce.

So . . . I don’t have to dread or fear trials, but I don’t have to ask for them either. God knows exactly what I need to increase my trust and dependence on Him. Just be a Mary, He says, and sit at His feet.

Tomato Plants and Trials

With our daughter Cindy’s encouragement, Scott and I decided this year to try our hand at growing some veggies in a hydroponic Tower Garden on our back deck. We had no idea what to expect, so we blithely inserted our tiny shoots of celery, basil, cucumbers, lettuce, kale, onions, marigolds, and tomatoes into the little black holes. Daily, we enjoyed plucking off fresh salad ingredients for our lunches.

The tomato plants didn’t start to grow until later when the weather turned hotter. I looked on the Internet to find out how to prune them and diligently plucked off the errant shoots so that the main branches would grow strong and healthy. All was going great until those tomato plants assumed their power and soon dominated the entire structure, blocking out the sun for all the other plants. It’s a good thing we like tomatoes, for we’re about to get a bumper crop of them! (Cindy subsequently urged me to cut them back even more.)

When I hurt or face a trial, I might assume that God is mad at me or that I’ve done something wrong and He’s punishing me. The truth, however, might be that He is simply pruning me to bear more fruit. I can embrace the trial, learn from it, and give God permission to prune me. And enjoy the bumper crop of joy and patience and love to spread around my neighborhood.

Cherry tomatoes anyone?

Tower Garden 3