There is a really nasty stomach virus working its way through North Texas. The bug got into my system last night and wreaked considerable havoc. I thought, of course, of the verse in Deuteronomy.
Then I prostrated myself before God, just as I had at the beginning of the forty days and nights. I ate no food; I drank no water. (Deut. 5)
Hopefully this will not last any where close to forty days and nights. The scouting report is that the virus lasts 2 days if you go to the doctor. If you let it run it’s course it lasts 48 hours. I am sitting at home waiting for this to run it’s natural course. I thought of how really lousy I have felt today. And then I realized how much I take for granted the fifty weeks or so out of every year when I feel good or even great. Sure I have the usual little aches and pains that a 50 plus body will accumulate. But for five decades I have been blessed with the ability to run slowly, jump barely, dance awkwardly, and laugh often. I am so blessed.
I thought about people who feel far worse than I have felt this week every single day of their lives. Yet they get up and go about their business every day. I thought of those who deal heroically with chronic pain and soldier on without complaint. I admire the people who find joy in their lives even when they don’t feel like it. King Solomon said the following in the Book of Proverbs.
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart,
and good news gives health to the bones. NIV Prov 15
The Message has an interesting take on this proverb.
A twinkle in the eye means joy in the heart, and good news makes you feel fit as a fiddle.
Think about the people who choose joy when circumstances don’t warrant that action. Don’t you find that the kind of personality that responds like that often features a twinkle in the eye? They are the kind of people that you visit to minister to and then end up receiving more than you gave.
Paul said in his letter to the church at Phillipi that he had learned to be content in his circumstance. It didn’t come naturally for him either.
I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. (Philippians 4, The Message)
I am grateful for the illness because I appreciate health. I am grateful for the clouds because the sunshine then feels so wonderful. I am grateful for a God that never changes through good times or bad.