My Sense of Pain and God’s Revelation

Posted on December 29, 2011


I had not expected to examine God’s revelation though my sense of pain, indeed I did not know how I was going to engage this particular sense without resorting to some kind of…well, we need not to go into details.

And then the stomach flu hit my house.

Now, I recognize that on the pain-scale, or the scale of life changing events, the stomach flu is fairly low. But when you’re in the midst of it, it really wipes you out. That this spread through our house on Christmas Eve and altered our hoped-for Christmas gatherings, added an emotional pain as well.

However, there were some things I learned through being sick for a couple of days. I’m not sure I would say that I experienced God in a new way though this, but some good things came from being sick.

1. The more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to disinfect. Toys, bathrooms, counters, table-tops, carpets, chairs, sinks, sheets, floors. Take a moment and look around your house and ask yourself this question, “If I had to disinfect everything I own, how long would it take me?” If the answer is longer than 24 hours, you may want to consider getting rid of some stuff.

2. Control is an illusion. It is an illusion that we can maintain because most of the time we tell ourselves things like “I’ve earned this” or, “I deserve this,” but then something like this comes along and the cause-and-effect nature of life fades away. At least in the way we like to commonly construct it. I got sick (effect) because it was spread to me by another person (cause). It didn’t happen because of a choice I made or because of sin (in a specific sense) or because God is teaching me a lesson. Things happens because we don’t have as much control as we like to think.

3. Family is the most important thing. When you’re sick and your wife is sick and your poor kids are all sick, all you want in the whole world is for everyone you love to feel better. Not once in the last four days did I think about college savings, or filing my tax returns, or even making a new-years resolution. All I did was make sure my kids were as comfortable as I could make them and that I slept whenever I could.

4. Normal is amazing. Today I am feeling so good just being back to normal health. It is a miracle how much energy we have every day, so much energy that we take for granted. The human body is an amazing creation, capable of healing itself, turning food into fuel, and full of potential movement. It is sad how it takes a dysfunction to make me appreciate the normal wonder of my body.

5. Slow down. While Christmas this year was not “storybook” for any of us, there were some nice moments were we were all on the couch, under a blanket, watching a kid’s movie together. Usually I’m trying to catch up on chores or odd-jobs that I never seem to have time to do, that these moments are rare, but it was nice to be together, not caring about the cleanliness of our house, or work, or anything else, just being together.

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