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This is the fifth day of my flu and something serious has changed

February 18, 2018

 

7I wanted to write at various times over the weekend, but to tell you the truth, my back could not hold me up. The pain at times has been excruciating; it feels as if someone has taken a Louisville Slugger to the muscles just underneath my shoulder blades.  I am good for about ten minutes at the most before I must either lie down on the living room floor and stare at the ceiling, or else just surrender and go back to bed.

This is Sunday and obviously I cannot go to church. I am in the fifth day of the flu.  It has attacked my head, my lungs, my stomach and even my hands and feet.   Yesterday I was slowly walking up the stairs and I had to stagger in and lean against the kitchen table, wheezing and trying to gather my wind back.  You must understand, I run 5 miles at least four times a week, and have been doing so for years.  This sickness is monstrous.

At other times it is hilarious, though.  Jill caught a tip of the bug and is over it for the most part, but during the past days when we shuffled past each other and talked, it was like someone had taken the film reel and slowed the movie down by half.  We talked in slow motion, as well as moved and gestured in marionette-sort-of-way.

I’ve consumed more soup this week than I have in the past calendar year.  I am not making this up. I am keeping Progresso in business.

At times I shiver like a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

My sinuses play a game of Dam Burst, and I end up gagging and coughing in bed all through the night.

At the beginning of the attacks I prayed for quick deliverance, but now I am going to tell you something very strange.  Are you ready?

I am thankful I’m going through it.

I’m serious.

I’ll share you a secret:  alternating between lying in bed and boiling in a scalding tub, I’ve been studying John chapter 11.

Just John chapter 11 – you know, Jesus and Lazarus.  The raising of the dead man.   This is a fantastic story.   I’ve read and re-read and I will keep re-reading it and studying. Oh, there are so many things I’ve learned from this passage.

Jesus weeps deeply.  He knows the Father’s plan to come, but listen now, He’s still got that human side and this is a deep grief.  People are amazed at His deep, deep compassion.  “Behold how He loved him!”

Then the Greek language gets explosive.  “He cried with a loud voice.”  It’s a double emphasis upon the volume of His voice.  It’s beyond a shout.  It’s like a roar.  Jesus booms out for Lazarus to leave the tomb.  People gasp.

Lazarus shuffles forward.  Crowd is stunned, and nobody moves, not even the Disciples.  Jesus instructs that Lazarus’ grave wrappings should be removed.

All right, who is Jesus talking to?  It doesn’t say who was supposed to removed the multi-yards-long strips of cloth.

What if you were present at this scene and Jesus called it out as a general instruction?  Would you have run over and started peeling away the funeral bandages of a man who has been dead for four days?  Remember, the Jews didn’t believe in embalming.

Would you have stayed back, afraid to uncover what you might fear to be stench-filled rotten flesh – or would you have run over to be the first to see a man’s skin that has been restored?

Consider this:  Jesus in His omnipotence raised the man from the dead (without even touching Lazarus), yet He lets regular folk be part of this event.  He allowed mortal man to be part of the miraculous scene;  regular people are removing the stone and removing the wrappings.  Man is allowed to be a part of God’s overall plan.

So many things I learned as I read and re-read!  Look, it’s not as if I had anything else I could have been doing.  And that’s the point.  God slowed me down – stopped me really – so that I could once again explore and enjoy Jesus.  I cannot believe I am saying this, but this flu is one of the best things that has happened to me in years.  It has caused me to concentrate on Christ with an intensity that is unfettered by the routine obligations or distractions of the regular day.

Look, we must admit, we have let our distractions crowd out the miraculous in Jesus.  In our culture that elevates fantasy and special effects, we Christians often join the crowd for the see-now baubles of flash-pan entertainment and, in doing so, miss the stunning real-world history and life-changing treasures of this Jesus we follow.   It’s a shame, and it took a knock-down drag-out flu to get me back into the secret place of the Most High to once again enjoy the Savior and Lord.

Wow, my back is really hurting so I am going to need to stop.  I invite you to join me in studying John 11.  I’m moving on to chapter 12 soon, but please let me know some treasures you find in this passage.

 

 

 

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