Illness, the Internet, and the Interstate

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Four hundred miles from home it began:  the rib-rattling coughing, the sinus-exploding sneezing, the bone-aching fever, and blanket-clutching chills.  A virus had set up camp in my respiratory system, and so our visit to relatives would need to be cut short.  I would miss seeing my niece and nephew elegantly dressed for their school dance.

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The photos of a town known for its spring flowers wouldn’t happen.  I’d only managed a few shots in the yard before the rain began (the first day of many).

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When I called my husband to tell him of the change of plans,  he shared the unwelcome news from home:  the internet was down (he wasn’t sure when it would be fixed), and the raccoons had been back on the front porch at 3 am, leaving behind “calling cards” that only raccoons can.

 Sigh.  Worse than the relentless march of the virus was the invasion of self pity.  It had crawled across my defenses when I wasn’t paying attention.  Did I really think I deserved a trouble-free life?

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 I tried to amuse myself on the long drive home by reading license plates of cars that passed us on the Interstate.  Who was the farthest from home?  What could their personalized license plates mean?

From the passenger seat I scanned semi-trailers, too, and tried to guess what the huge letters meant–were they acronyms or abbreviations?  One truck’s trailer had four large letters across the rear doors (C,R,S,and T), and I attempted to make words out of them.  The first badly-spelled word I created was “CuRST” (cursed).  Is that how I felt this week, despite my intellectual efforts to remain “thankful in all things?”  Then I realized I could have/should have made the word “ChRiST.”

Sigh.

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Three days after I returned home the internet was restored with a simple reset of the modem, which is exactly what I needed–a reset of my attitude.  I am grateful that changing the focus from my small “t” troubles to Jesus’ love and care helped transform my thinking.  A few days of attending to my body’s physical needs (sleep in my own bed, good food, hot tea, and plenty of water) helped a great deal, too.

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Do you remember the story of Elijah, when he ran for his life from Jezebel?  He was physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted.  He wished his life was over and fell asleep under the broom bush, but God did not condemn him or leave him in that state.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.  

1 Kings 19:5,6   NIV

God let Elijah sleep again and provided more food and water to prepare him for the forty day journey to Horeb (the mountain of God).  There the great Counselor gently asks in verse nine,

What are you doing here, Elijah?

Elijah answers that he has tried to be faithful to God’s call on him, but now he is the last remaining prophet and fears for his life.  God then answers him by revealing Himself.

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.

After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.

After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.

And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

1 Kings 19:11-13   NIV

Elijah recognizes the “still, small voice” (KJV) is God’s.

Reset.  God starts over and asks a second time,

What are you doing here, Elijah?

and Elijah answers with the exact same words, but this time the Lord reveals His plans for Elijah’s (and Elisha’s) future and the encouraging truth that thousands remained faithful to God.  Elijah was not alone.

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I am grateful for the healing process that God has created in my body.

I am grateful that my troubles are small, developed-world inconveniences.

I am grateful that Jesus understands our frailties and is gentle with us, caring for us body, mind, and soul.

I am grateful for the “still, small voice” of the Lord.

I am grateful for the ability to “reset” my attitude and my relationship with Jesus.

Oh, and one more thing I am grateful for–the book I was reading when I became sick was Rich Mullins: A Devotional Biography: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven (by James Bryan Smith), and the chapter was “Bound to Come Some Trouble.”

I know there’s bound to come some trouble to your life

But reach out to Jesus and hold on tight

He’s been there before and He knows what it’s like

You’ll find He’s there

–Rich Mullins

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.   John 16:33   NIV

*          *          *           *            *

Background sunflower photos by Barb Briggs

  linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee

  linking with Holley Gerth at holleygerth.com

Linkup

 

 

linking with Lyli Dunbar

 

Posted on May 8, 2014, in Devotional and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Yes, momentary troubles do come (and go) but in Jesus we overcome. Thanks, Constance, for constantly pointing us to Him…with words and photos🙂

  2. Lovely words – and a great reminder! So grateful that He has overcome this world. Thank you!

  3. Your faith is as lovely as your blog and the words it contains. Thanks Constance.

  4. Constance,
    That passage in Elijah comforted me so much when I struggled with postpartum depression…God’s tenderness heals us…glad you are on the mend…blessings to you.

    • Thanks so much, Dolly! I confess, I had forgotten about Elijah’s story until I started writing this post. Then God brought it to my mind–I guess I needed to be reminded about God’s tender care toward Elijah and me.

  5. What a wonderfully precious treasure of truth, that Jesus knows what it’s like to be where I am! The song, and the Scripture at the end, truly blessed me, Connie Ann, and I thank you. I love the way God used these troubles to lead you to Himself! Really enjoyed your post, and your sunflowers. ~Joyce

    • Joyce, I am SO glad the song and scripture ministered to you. I think God is always trying to reveal himself to me, but I don’t always listen. I’m glad He reminded me of this story of Elijah.

      The sunflower photos always make me smile. Wasn’t my friend, Barb, sweet to take the pictures of sunflowers when I asked for some?

  6. Etre reconnaissant en toutes choses et apprécier les petites choses qui nous semblent acquises … C’est sans doute pour cela que Jésus nous demande de ressembler aux enfants. J’aime votre expression ” réinitialiser notre attitude”, et oui, ce n’est que comme ça qu’on sait qu’on est sur le bon chemin🙂

  7. Hi Constance! Welcome back to the land of the living! ( I always feel like time stands still when I’m sick…) Loved the ‘cursed’ and ‘Christ’ thoughts. I see those trucks all the time on the road.

    I’m so sorry that you had to miss so much…and that your internet was down too. Yikes. But tying all of that to Elijah makes it so powerful. What a strong question it is…”What are you doing here?” (I often ask myself the same one!) It’s good to visit that question so I know where I should be with God. And work on overcoming. Just like you did🙂
    Blessings!
    Ceil

    • Thanks for your kind words, Ceil. I am so thankful for the story of Elijah, showing God’s tender care for us and the opportunity he gives us to reset our hearts.

      When God questions Elijah, it obviously isn’t because God doesn’t know. Elijah needed to think about the question, and more importantly he needed to know he was in the Lord’s presence and hear His still, small voice.

  8. Constance, I have always loved the passage about Elijah. It reminds me that God remembers how frail I am. I just need to remember how strong, patient, and compassionate He is when I am overwhelmed. Thank you for the reminder.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    • You have reminded me of this section in Psalm 103:
      “13 As a father has compassion on his children,
      so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
      14 for he knows how we are formed,
      he remembers that we are dust.
      God doesn’t turn us away when we’re overwhelmed–He shows us his tender love and kindness.

      Thanks for reading, Wendy.

  9. Constance Ann,

    I love your line there! “God answers by revealing himself!” Wow, so encouraging, huh?

    Re your comment on my post “The Tattoo Every Parent Needs,” yes, it reminds me of Paul in Romans too!🙂 Of all the ways he could have chosen to introduce himself, that is the one he chose. Telling, huh? Neat.

    Nice to have you here again,
    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

    • Thanks for reading, Jennifer!

      I think I tend to be like Elijah and get too focused on “the plan,” wanting to know what comes next. Instead, God wants to minister to us (body, mind, and spirit) and draw us close to Himself so that we can learn more about Him.

  10. Thank you for sharing so honestly- this really challenged and encouraged me today
    hope you have a great weekend

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