It's Day 4 of my personal Flu Season. Give me winter, spring, summer, or fall. Give me any season, but flu season! No, I did not get a flu shot. Thank you very much! And Yes, I do take vitamins. In fact, if it were possible to have an overdose of Vitamin C, the paramedics would have arrived a day ago. Right now I just want to feel normal. I am ready for relief from the congestion, the aches and pains, and the general feeling of malaise that plagues my body.
Despite present circumstances I AM THANKFUL. It took me three days to get that attitude of gratitude, but I have officially entered into the State of Grateful. That's a good thing. God tells me I should be thankful FOR EVERYTHING:
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:18-21 ESV
"Be thankful FOR EVERYTHING" can be a tough pill to swallow, but it is God's good medicine. A grateful heart is a trusting heart. I can be grateful because God is in control, loves me, and is working out everything -- even the tough stuff -- for my good (Romans 8:28). With that in mind let me share with you why I am thanking God for the flu:
- God has used the flu to bring humility. That's a good thing. Last I checked, God still resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Admitting that, "Yes, I'm sick!" means I can no longer tout my stellar record of health (even though that is mostly a silent satisfaction). Yesterday, I had to walk out of the office for the staff's sake and mine. For a guy who prides himself on "showing up and working hard," that meant I had to put my pride on the shelf. That hurts more than you know. And I guess that hurt so much because pride is a bigger problem than I care to admit. But as Pride moves out, God moves in. Thanks Lord!
- God has used the flu to bring empathy. Paul wrote to his friends in Corinth, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). There is something about feeling pain that makes it a little easier to feel the pain of others. I'm praying just a little better for others right now. And I am a little more empathetic right now. Thanks Lord!
- God has used the flu to help me rest in His sovereignty. Last week I shared the post, "Trials Are Mandatory -- Bad Moods Are Optional" as I reflected on James 1:2-4 (click here to read it). Last week I was quoting that verse. This week I'm living it. The quoting is always easier than the living! Sleeping is a little tougher this week. Prepping for the sermon is a little tougher this week. Writing, praying, loving, and serving are all a little tougher this week. But that's okay! God is in control and he will come through -- he always does. Thanks Lord!
Some days it is easy to give thanks. Some days it is hard. But God calls us to be thankful always and for everything. We can. He is working out everything for our good. Just trust him!
What are the goods and the "bads" you need to thank God for today?