Sunday, May 3, 2009


It's so easy to lose perspective and gratitude in the midst of illness. I was down with the flu all week, and every day I was irritable, grouchy, and feeling sorry for myself.
Then I went to the doctor and she asked me to rank my pain on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being next to none, 10 absolutely exruciating. On the wall was a scale with a happy face next to #1 at the bottom, and at #10 the face of absolute friggin' agony, the tears pouring, the mouth stretched down to the edges of the chin. I don't think even Christ had it as bad as whatever happened to #10 face.
So the doctor asked "Where would you say you rank?" And I said "4." Then I thought, "4? After all this grouchiness and wallowing, I'm only a 4?" And I realized my perspective was as much in need of healing as my illness.
At my church group this Friday, we talked a bit about what brings perspective and emotional healing in the midst of suffering. One of the biggest needs is to just let people in. My friend Paul talked about a surgery he'd had around Christmastime: a group of carolers was making rounds at the hospital and wanted to stop by his room. At first, he told himself, "Screw them. I'm cranky. I don't want to hear any Christmas music." But he yielded to it and actually got into their rendition of "Jingle Bells."
My friend Isaac had my favorite story. He was about to go into the hospital for kidney stones, and he was in wrenching pain, crying his eyes out. Before he left the house, he stopped in front of the mirror and thought "If I'm going to go outside a crying mess, I'm going to at least keep some dignity." So he stopped, and went into the bathroom and applied some hair gel. And before he headed out to the e.r., he looked at himself in the mirror with his good hair and it brought a smile to his face.
Being sick can be a great opportunity, as much as a burden. And I believe God can bring good out of the hardship. I can't accept that God causes our illnesses and disease, but I believe we can grow closer to him through these experiences. Psalm 18:28 says, "You O Lord keep my lamp burning; my God can turn my darkness into light." The God we believe in can turn this life's lemons into lemonade.
So, I wish you health, but more importantly I wish you faith, despite whatever lemons may come your way. Have a great week.

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