Our family of 8 fought a good fight, but have now succumbed to the fever, coughing, vomiting, flu-like symptoms that plague this time of year. It's been coming on for a few weeks, with a sinus infection here and a cold there...but now, we are ALL DOWN. All 8 of us.
The last time the 8 of us were all sick was when we were a family of 6, I was just about to have Number 5, and we all came down with a stomach virus. I don't have to tell you, because you know...that being a sick parent while caring for a sick family is trying.
Moms and dads need sleep to function properly, right?
We need the laundry put away where their it's supposed to be, and not all over the living room floor.
We need the kitchen counter to be cleared off if we want to happily serve up some dinner--who can expect us to cook when the dishwasher's full and the breakfast dishes remain all over the table?!?
And then...how could we possibly count it all joy when our children throw up all over us?
You see, perhaps the most revealing thing about the flu and sickness-season is not how weak our bodies are, but how strongly we depend on certain conditions, certain expectations, certain conveniences, and certain time frames in order to respond to challenges with joy and faith...and obedience.
There is no guilt in feeling weak, struggling to have joy, and fighting your way through the mess and the mire. But, we should not be surprised when he uses those very circumstances to show us where the source of our obedience really lies. Don't be startled when he shows himself mighty where we have only meager attempts at faithfulness.
God's faithfulness is unchanging. His help is unending. His mercy is unceasing. And so...if the condition of our faithfulness is based on His faithfulness, we find--with great relief--that He's got our backs. If we are dependent on agreeable conditions for faithfulness, we will be ruled by guilt and despair.
God is faithful when we are not. God forgives when we can't forgive ourselves. God changes us in the midst of our making idols of comfort, ease, and chaos control.
There's grace for that smile that's not on your face. There's grace for the missed opportunity to praise him this morning over spilled cereal. There's grace for my lack of graciousness...because He is the author and sustainer of it all...the very faith that I long to have in all seasons, in all trials. There's grace for all these...because he simply won't leave us there.
Because of grace,