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Stomach Flu and the Church

By January 7, 20082 Comments

For the last 48 hours I have been wretchedly ill with the stomach flu. You know, of all the short terms viruses that one can acquire, I think that stomach viruses are my least favorite. There’s nothing that makes you want to curl up and disappear more than lying on a bathroom floor for hours on end, only getting up periodically to stick your head in a toilet. And let me tell you, I also look and smell pretty amazing right now.

There has, however, been one silver lining to this experience, one way in which I actually feel blessed to have been sick. In the last two days, I have been reminded of how lucky I am to have such incredible friends. One friend brought me crackers and soda the moment I called him. Another friend dropped what she was doing to bring me chicken noodle soup and hot tea. And while she was making the soup, she drew me this amazing bath complete with relaxing bath salts and candles! Then, one of my roommates brought me a thoughtful get-well card and some medicine to help me sleep through the night. And as if that wasn’t enough to make me feel loved, I had numerous friends calling me multiple times all day long to see how I was doing. I am an indeed a lucky girl!

So being the theology nerd that I am, I had one recurring thought as each new person came to my aid–I love the church! Even though God Himself didn’t reach down to rub my back and make me soup, He used His Body to do so. Every time someone came by my house or called me to check on me, I could hear God whispering, “I’m here, Sharon. I’m taking care of you.”

And how do I know that I was experiencing supernatural love, and not a mere act of human kindness? God’s fingerprints were unmistakable in the extent to which people went out of their way for me. The sacrificial nature with which people repeatedly helped me did not as much reflect their love for me, as it did for Christ. No one likes having their plans ruined or delayed, no matter how great the cause, and my cause was not great. I felt sick, but the sickness would pass and I would eventually be fine regardless of whether or not someone made me some hot tea. But divine love goes beyond the bare minimum. Divine love is extravagant. It goes the extra mile to convey care and tenderness, even at personal expense. That is the kind of love I experienced, and that is why the servant-heartedness that I witnessed said more about my friends’ love for Jesus than it did about their love for me.

Therein lies the beauty of the Church. When you enter into it, you become a part of Christ’s very Body, which is love. Love is a fundamental characteristic of God’s identity, so when we take on that identity, we experience a love that defies human selfishness or reason.

So today, I just wanted to tell all my friends who have cared for me these last couple days how grateful I am, and how blessed I have been by your love and concern. But more importantly, I thank God for giving you all such servant hearts. My mom and dad were not there to take care of me, but I still knew I was in the presence of family. Thanks for loving me in a way that made me fall more in love with God.


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  • Mama Pajama says:

    I hope you feel better, I, too have been battling the same flu bug for the past 48 hours! It’s a mess and I’m finally able to choke down some rice so that I can actually have something in my stomach.


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