Wednesday was a bad day!
It was a bad day because I still had the crud . . . that body-aching, head-splitting, sinus-clogging, throat-hacking crud. You've been there, right? You know these things don't clear up overnight. And speaking of night, the night before was long, lonely (Shannan wisely slept in the other room), and my slumber was constantly interrupted by the unwelcome hacking cough.
But Wednesday was also a very good day!
It was a good day because God reminded me of the beauty of the body of Christ.
It started with Chicken noodle soup.
Jack Canfield has served up heaping portions of encouragement with Chicken Soup for the Soul and his ancillary publications. But Jack's words can't match the encouragement I received when John brought REAL Chicken Noodle Soup to my house.
Don't think I'm getting preferential treatment because I'm the pastor. Each month John's team serves up soup, meals, and all kinds of goodies for the family and friends of SRC. Each year they prepare a few thousand meals. To John's team, this is what it means to be the family of God to each other.
Then I got Kyle's email. Kyle is a friend, neighbor, and leader in our church. His words were brotherly love and sage advice:
Saw your status on today's devo and thought of something my late father used to say: "I can trace every illness I've ever had to lack of rest."
I doubt he was the first to say it, but I heard it often when I was burning the candle at both ends just as your father and my father modeled for us.
Here's what I say: an ill husband, father, grandfather, pastor is not much use to anyone but the doctor! Get some rest and when you get well, get some more rest.
I have prayed that you will get well soon, my friend.
Then I got covered in prayer by people who really believe that God answers prayer.
"I hope and pray you'll feel better today!"
"I pray the crud leaves you and a I thank God for you."
"Will shoot up a prayer right now!"
As I reflected on the kindness, and the encouragement, and the prayers, I remembered God's Word:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
On Wednesday, I got "stirred up." I was encouraged by prayers and timely words and Chicken noodle soup. And every bit of it was good for my soul.
Thank God for the church, the body of Christ.