I got real sick this week. I mean, like, faucet conditions with mucous pouring from my nose, wrapped up in blankets on my bed, shivering from fever, moaning softly if I had to move even a fraction of an inch.
It was nasty. And total. Like some terrifying viral version of Ben Stiller’s totalitarian nurse character in Happy Gilmore, telling me that the time had come for me to rest.
I didn’t like the sickness. In fact, I’m still coughing up phlegm, even after a couple days of recovery. At the same time, I appreciate the significance of the sickness and its attendant reminder to rest.
God has taught me this lesson before. But I (apparently) need continued reminders. I will either take some rest — or the rest will take me.
This year’s Welcome Week was certainly an endurance event, as it is every year. But I actually made it through that week relatively healthy. I knew I needed to take some downtime to recover — and I did a little bit of that in the first part of the week — but I ramped up too quickly in the second half of the week. I stayed out until 2AM to do our Thirsty Thursday outreach. Then I went to a high school football game on Friday night, a high school soccer game on Saturday afternoon, and a professional soccer game on Saturday night — not returning home until nearly 1AM that night. Sunday was another busy day of ministry… And by the time I got to Monday, I was already starting to crash.
I wish my body’s response to extended and intense periods of stress was not so automatic. I can usually push through to the end of whatever stressful period I’ve marked out in my mind before the cracks start to show. But I inevitably crack when I start to let up. The proverbial inch becomes the proverbial mile. It’s annoying. Still, there’s also something to be said for a healthy dependence on God’s strength, instead of my own strength.
God Himself gave us the model for regular rhythms of rest, from the beginning of Creation. Anytime we start imagining ourselves to be saviors of the world, we run into problems. Jesus is the Savior of the world; not me. He can cause the rocks to cry out, as witnesses to his glory, if we’re not able to raise our voices. He explicitly tells us that His power is made perfect in our weakness.
So I’m choosing to rejoice in the insight that my sickness has provided this week. I’m thankful for God’s power to run the world without me. And, in a weird way, I look forward to getting better at this as I get older my physical limitations increase. I just have to remember to get some rest, from time to time.