Ever have a day when you’re feeling under the weather?
Of course. We all do.
I’m not talking about major life threatening, serious, or dangerous medical conditions. That’s a different story.
I’m talking about the annoying but self-limiting little backaches, headaches, stomachaches, coughs, allergies, pulled muscles, poison ivy, etc., that virtually all of us get from time to time. Sometimes they can make us feel downright miserable for a day or two but we know they won’t last forever.
But what do these annoying bodily events do to your prayer life?
There was a time when I used to pray to be able to get through all the things I already had planned whether I felt good or not.
Sometimes I would ask God to please make me feel better fast.
But lately I have noticed something new cropping into my prayer life in response to these minor little bodily annoyances. I have found myself asking God, “What do You want me to learn from this?”
For me this is a major step forward. When I was growing up I somehow got the idea that being sick was my own fault because it meant that I had done something wrong. I usually felt ashamed of getting sick, and did my best not to let anyone know when I didn’t feel well.
So it was a step forward from that when I stopped blaming myself for my own minor illnesses & just started to accept them as stuff that happens sometimes.
But now I’m in a different place. Asking God what He wants me to learn from a minor infirmity might reveal that the lesson du jour is patience or humility or the importance of being kind to my own body. Or sometimes I’m actually aware that God is giving me an opportunity to practice focusing on Him, or on other people’s needs, rather than on my own annoying physical stuff.
I do have some other health issues I’ll need to deal with soon, and I can really almost feel God building me up to prepare me to handle that calmly and without undue stress.
None of this is to say that I don’t just curl up in bed & feel sorry for myself sometimes when I don’t feel well, because that absolutely does still happen too sometimes. But I notice myself doing that less often these days.
Sometimes I actually find myself thanking God for building me into the person I need to become.
God is so awesome…. and I can genuinely feel that way even when the life of the flesh isn’t necessarily all that great at the moment.