One recent weekend, I made mental plans the eve before for gentle recreation: a little quilting, time in the sun with the strawberry plants and their weeds, a game or two of cribbage with whoever in the family isn’t afraid of my prowess (and hubris).
Conspicuously missing from the list was
1) Get violently ill with some sort of gastrointestinal stealth bug.
I’m sure that the term “gastrointestinal” gives you all the mental images you need. You’ll notice that I itemized the activity as number one because it was the first, and only thing I did over the weekend. At least the weeds in the strawberry patch aren’t too big.
Well, that was my weekend. How was yours?
In Good Hands
The big event happened from 1 to 4 Saturday morning, while everyone was asleep. In between micro-events I read and shivered on the couch, and my first feeble request, upon my husband the Norwegian Artist discovering my state, was for a little water.
From that point on, I was in a good place, not because I was feeling chipper and perky (and certainly not because I looked chipper and perky; our daughter, Tired of Being Youngest, laughed at the state of my hair while she created exquisite chicken soup perfect for the recovering invalid), but because the familia set up a net of protection and safety around me, ensuring that what I needed, I got.
Silence reigned, enabling me to sleep. When I awoke, my favorite cat was on the bed (not even the Norwegian can get her to actually like me, or any human, but her queenly presence was enough), the shades discreetly pulled, a cup of tea attentively placed, and punctiliously replenished, within easy reach.
And in a Safe Place
I was sick, you bet. But at a time of extreme vulnerability, I was also in a safe place, a secure place, surrounded by people who kept a quiet, perceptive eye on me while I slept and always knew if I needed anything. I didn’t have to be strong, or even awake, because they were, for me.
Scripture makes numerous references to God being our rock, our deliverer, and our fortress — a protective refuge where we can hide, rest, or sleep — and be safe from outside forces we can’t handle right now, on top of everything else.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation,” David says in Psalm 22: 1-2.
“He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior — from violent men you save me.”
Now you don’t need a shield unless you’re being attacked, and you don’t need a refuge unless you’re under duress somehow. This is important to realize, in a day in which too many Christians are told that God solves all our problems, and the testament to our faith in Him is how seamlessly smooth our life is going.
Life isn’t smooth, friend. In my progeny’s vernacular, it sucks, often, but in the midst of the fight, in the midst of the challenges, in the midst of the gastrointestinal bouts, you are in the refuge of God’s arms and protection. Though you may not see it — because you have a pounding headache and aren’t in a condition to move right now — He is replenishing the tea, preparing soup, tracking down the cat and gently positioning her on the bed.
You know h0w, when things are going bad, you indulge your inner macabre and joke,
“Well, it could always be worse”?
It could. It really could. And sometimes it seems to get that way, with the refrigerator dying on the same day that your toddler bangs into the coffee table with his forehead and your employer announces that he’s downsizing. But somehow, you always come out alive — weak, tired, and trying to keep down a half of a banana — but alive.
“In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus told His disciples in John 16: 33. “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
You know, believe, and take refuge in the arms of the Person who has overcome the world. Close your eyes, and rest in His refuge, knowing that — despite the forces that are attacking you — you are safe.
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where no life experience is worth letting go without finding some wisdom, or learning, from it.
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