The last time I got sick was freshman year of college. True to character, I pushed through the flu until I found myself dehydrated and in need of an IV. It hadn’t seemed serious until I was lying on the bathroom floor, unable to walk back to my dorm, worried someone would come in and think I was hungover.
I like to think of myself as a compassionate person, but the whole “sickness” thing just grosses me out. I passionately hate germs. And ever since that bout with the flu, I determined that I just wouldn’t get sick. Sure, the occasional cold might pass through my system, but no more debilitating illness.
I joked about this bold declaration, but I was serious about it, too. As I frequently told people: “My immune system is a warrior. I refuse to get sick and so, my body doesn’t get sick. It’s as easy as that.”
Only, it isn’t. One cannot ward off illness by declaring it so. While there is power to the words we speak, we live in an unavoidable, germ-ridden society.
And that, my friends, is how I came to be sick with who-knows-what during a seemingly normal February week. If I wasn’t feeling so poorly, I might have laughed at the situation. See, just a few days prior to getting sick, I’d been humble-bragging about my health. I never take sick days, eat nutrient dense food, and hydrate well. The perfect picture of health. I kid you not, my words to a coworker were: “If you give your body what it needs, it’ll respond accordingly and ward off those germs. My body is a finely-tuned machine.”
Ha. Pride goes before the fall, right?
The neat thing is, my plummet into the world of congestion served to clear a few things up for me. The first is that I am not a superhuman. I probably shouldn’t have needed that reminder. After all, I fail at things all the time. But failure (AKA: imperfection) is hard for me.
So, I wrestled with my broken, illness-vulnerable nature. And God answered by, once again, reminding me of the importance of rest.
One of my go-to verses is Isaiah 26:3 which says, “You will keep him [or her] in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he [or she] trusts you.“
It’s a peace that surpassed my own desire for a quick-fix healing, peace that even outweighed my anxiety about not getting work done because of the illness. But was this peace, I wondered, powerful enough to make me “okay” with a sick body that was unproductive and exhausted?
I found the answer to be yes. As I battled the anxiety and loneliness that illness stirred up in my heart, I found the Lord to be ever-present. His intimacy and love whispered to me, “It is good for you to rest. It is through rest that I heal.“
Going out and running ten miles wasn’t going to jolt my body back into health; neither was drinking copious amounts of herbal tea. I needed to rest. To cease striving.
Is that where you are at today? Are you moving a million miles an hour, trying to make it all okay by checking off that one last item on your to-do list? I’ve been there–both spiritually and physically.
Can I remind you (and me) that God’s already done the work? We can cease striving and know that He is God over whatever physical, spiritual, mental, or emotional weakness is plaguing us (Ps. 46:10).
It is only when we rest in Him that healing comes, that we are transformed from works-based-failures to grace-saved-creations. There is, my friend, no antidote for rest.
4 thoughts on ““But I Don’t Get Sick””
That’s funny, I never get sick either. I have been told that I am a very level person…with a big bubble in the middle. Thanks, Hanna, this is a very good reminder that rest is good, rest is necessary, rest is commanded.
I mean Hannah with an “h”
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