Lessons from a Virus

BA2274-001Two days of wishing to die.

That’s what stomach or intestinal flu (virus) is to me.  Hunched over the toilet or sitting on the toilet for the last two days has caused me to quote the Apostle Paul with more frequency:

For me to die is gain.

But God is a Father-Teacher par excellence.  He never stops teaching.  Never stops correcting.  Never stops shepherding those He loves and has redeemed in Christ Jesus.  He is so good, He even teaches us through the stomach bug.  Since I, and many others in my church family are suffering through this pandemic right now, I wanted to remind us all of lessons we can learn even from a virus.

  1. God is sovereign.  Over every molecule in the universe.  Even over microscopic viruses.  Whether the Lord directly sent me this virus, or merely permitted it to be so, the inevitable conclusion is the same – God is in control.  Not me.
  2. We are weak.  Something that can only be seen with majorly expensive microscopes can take down the world’s strongest man.  Nothing reminds a man of his own frailty like uncontrollable dry-heaving that leaves his entire body sore for days.
  3. We ought to pray more.  Begging for mercy from God was a consistent theme in my life for the past few days!  I begged not just for myself, but that my wife and daughters would be spared this gut-wrenching sickness.  Why, O why, does it take something like this to make me a fervent man of prayer?
  4. We ought to be more thankful.  For everything.  Not eating for a few days makes one more thankful for a simple meal of chicken noodle soup.  Not being able to get out of bed for two days makes one more thankful for the ability to even get up and walk.  We are totally dependent upon the Lord for everything good in our lives.  We ought to thank Him a lot more often than we do.
  5. Good leadership means thinking of others before ourselves.  My sickness struck me early Saturday morning, like 2 am.  I wanted so badly to pull myself into the pulpit yesterday to preach.  There’s nothing on this planet I enjoy more than preaching God’s Word to God’s people at Corydon Baptist Church.  I did not want to miss it.  But my wife reminded me that I might just communicate more than the Word to the people.  My disease, after all, was very communicable.  I should stay home.  My desires had to take a back seat.
  6. Multiple Elders in a Church is biblical, and an immense blessing.  Who would’ve thought that we’d need a fourth stringer to come off the bench yesterday?  Three Pastors had the flu either personally or in their homes.  We called our fourth string – a man we’ve been investing in as an Elder Apprentice for two years plus.  What a blessing.  I hope our church body appreciates the depth God has provided us.  What peace of mind to know we have four men who can preach and teach God’s Word faithfully.  I did not lie in bed worried that the flock would not be fed.  Or that they would be fed junk food.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
  7. Things can always be worse.  Believe it or not, I actually thought to myself a few times during this brief illness, “It could be worse.  You could be in hell and this sickness would never end.”  Sobering reminder.  I needed it.
  8. One day King Jesus will banish all sickness and disease from His people.  Every illness only makes us long for this day on an even deeper level.  Our sufferings will not be worthy to be compared, dear Christians, with what glory God has in store for us (Romans 8; Rev 21-22).

Our Savior is so immeasurably good to us.  Whatever ill or bad comes our way, we can be sure we deserve worse.  My Dad has often told me, “Every single bad thing that has ever happened to me I deserved.  What I cannot get over is just how many good things God has lavished on me every day, year after year.”

Amen Dad.  Preach on!

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