Thankful

There are many things that I’m thankful for.  I’ve thought of writing on this topic before, but just recently I’ve been learning, more importantly, God has been teaching and reminding me to not only be thankful for the good but also the seemingly bad things in my life.

I’m thankful, first of all, for Jesus Christ through whom my salvation is from.

I’m thankful for my parents who sought to obey The Word in training me to follow in their footsteps in following Christ.

I’m thankful for my wife who continues to love me and support me not only when things are going good, but also when I mess up or stick my foot in my mouth.

I’m thankful for my son Jadon who surprisingly teaches me on a daily basis on how a father loves a child.

I’m thankful that God loves and trusts me enough to bless me with another child.

I’m thankful for my church family that is always there to support and lift me up in prayer.

I’m thankful for my job that God blessed me with nearly 11 years ago.

Last week I was sick with a head cold that kept me from being as productive at work and at home as I normally would be. Being sick is certainly not fun, and any wife who has had to take care of her sick husband can attest to the fact that men usually don’t enjoy being sick. I can definitely identify with that.

But I also realized last week that illnesses don’t at all sneak up on God. While He doesn’t make us sick, it still happens under His divine sovereign will. As with any uncomfortable thing we go through in life that requires us to draw on a strength not our own, there is a purpose and ultimately something to be learned from it.

I wonder how many wasted uncomfortable moments I’ve had in my life due to the hardening of my heart because I focused only on my present circumstance and the pain that it brought. I strongly believe that God wants to teach us in every circumstance we find ourselves in. That includes having just the common cold or a headache. Honestly I’d rather have a cold any day than a headache.

Usually when I’m sick I am very impatient and most of the time I believe I have a right to be. A right to be impatient with anyone I encounter, but mostly my wife is the one who is forced to deal with it. However, being sick doesn’t mean that life doesn’t still go on. There are still responsibilities that I have to take care of.

While my wife will usually give me some grace to act like a child when I’m sick, my son Jadon doesn’t understand my being sick and still needs and wants my attention. I can’t afford to lose my temper or patience with him because he won’t understand that I’m only acting that way because I’m sick. He still has needs that I have to take care of.

This was brought to my attention quite clearly last Wednesday when I decided to stay home from church because of my illness. As I was sitting on the couch battling my cold and watching jadon play and doing my best to take care of his needs, there came a time during the course of the evening that I noticed Jadon acting strange and not quite himself.

First, he wouldn’t eat one of his favorite meals of fish sticks and fries. Then he didn’t want to drink anything. Finally, as a two year old boy who never likes to sit still for longer than 30 seconds except when he’s watching Dora or Diego, he sat next to me on the couch for nearly an hour as we watched part of Toy Story 3. During that whole time, he just sat there quietly with one of his favorite blankets as I noticed he was getting increasingly warmer.

None of this took God by surprise, though. My being sick at very same time wasn’t just a coincidence or by chance. God knew that I would be home alone with him at just the time he started to get sick while at the same time battling my own sickness. In those moments I had to divert my attention and focus away from myself and do what needed to be done to take care of my sick little boy. I could no longer be selfish and choose to only look out for my own health.

Now, this is not the first time that both Jadon and myself have been sick at the same time nor will it be the last. But, what made this situation unique was that Kristie was not at home to take care of us to nurse us back to health, though I’m confident she wishes she could’ve been there. I had to suck it up and take care of Jadon.

It turned out that he had a fever and an ear infection.

I was also able to still work out last week at the urging of a good friend who has been making sure I keep my commitment to it even though I wanted to use the excuse that I was sick and didn’t really have the strength to do it.

What I’ve learned is that I don’t really have a right or an excuse to shirk my responsibilities or act like a child when I’m feeling under the weather. There are still going to be things that need to be done, even when I’m sick.

I’ve also learned that I have available the strength to persevere and rise above any illness that God may allow me to have. I no longer have an excuse to treat my wife poorly when I’m sick because my body feels weak. Some may call it willpower or self-control but I call it the strength that comes through Christ.

And for that, I can say that I’m thankful for even the sicknesses that may come my way because they give me the opportunity to let Christ shine through me.

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