On sickness & faith

So I've been sick since Thursday. Kind of. It was this lingering thing, a tickle in the back of my throat, a hint that maybe all is not well within my immune system. By the time I got to class this morning, I realized that the sickness had erupted its way from the background to the foreground.

There's something about sickness that makes it feel like it will last forever, at least for me. Suddenly I struggle to remember what health feels like. Throughout my day I wonder if I will ever feel normal again. When can I workout again? When will I be able to sit in class and actually focus fully? When will I feel up to cooking again? It's so overwhelming. I have a tendency to get caught up in this thought pattern every time I get sick: I throw in the towel and curl up in a ball on my sofa, resigned to watch TV (or movies) until I feel like a human being again.

Just like our physical bodies can get sick, so can our souls. Just like physical illness, this spiritual illness can come on several ways. It can slam into you out of nowhere, like running smack into a wall full speed. One day, you're feeling strong and confident in your faith. The next day, you're questioning everything you believe and feeling quite distant. Other times it comes like this physical illness came on me: a slow steady drift away from Christ. Maybe you skip Bible reading one night. The next day, maybe you don't pray as much. The next thing you know, you're skipping church services & questioning your faith.

Both types of illness serve a purpose. I often find that I end up with a cold when I say yes to a few too many things. I try to do too many things, starting new longer workouts, new eating plans, renewed devotion to school work, new volunteer or social activities, etc. My body finally says enough, you need to rest. So rest I do. I cut down on the non-essential activities and refocus my energy on what matters. Spiritual illness also comes when I try to do too much. I think that I've got everything under control. I'm doing these 15 things that sound great on the surface but like with physical illness I lose track of what's important. So a gap develops and I have to refocus and simplify.

With both physical and spiritual illness, I immediately begin to take steps to counter the illness. I take herbal remedies, down orange juice like a fiend and sleep like there's no tomorrow to combat physical illness. I pray like crazy, read twice as many chapters in the Bible, listen only to Christian music and often begin a new devotional or Christian book to combat spiritual illness. After a few days for either, if there's no improvement I then retreat to my couch, physically or emotionally. I resign. I quit. There's no way out. I'm stuck, trapped, done.

Thankfully, that's not the case most of the time. Colds go away, spiritual dry spells end.  While not all illnesses pass and not all spiritual distance closes, they so often do. In both cases, all we have to do is hold onto the hope that this illness will pass. As exhausting as it is to keep soldiering on, our soldiering brings a reward: with militant rest and fluid intake colds go away & health returns, with dedicated prayer & devotion spiritual gaps heals. That being said, once class ends I'll go home, drink lots of fluids, nap a bit and work on listening a little more to the voice of Christ instead of my own voice. And like I said, that gap will close & this cold will go away.

No comments:

Post a Comment