For a little over 24 hours this week I experienced a brutal bombardment of illnesses in the form of the stomach flu and vertigo – if I moved my head the least little bit, the room would near black out and I would empty my stomach. It was miserable to say the least. I typically get sick, bedridden sick, about once a year. Hopefully this was it for 2012. This little monstrosity of a sickness came just one day after my beloved wife Andi left for Oklahoma to spend time with a friend and her newborn baby girl for a week. Here was daddy, given the privilege of taking care of the babies for 6 little days, and I was unable to move on day one.
Today I am feeling much better; I feel just “normal sick” today, which means I am able to function, get to the office for a few hours, and hopefully get enough rest tonight for a full recovery by the morning. During my ten minute drive into work this morning, I quickly reflected on a few life lessons I already knew but was pleased to learn again. Here are a few of them.
1. I desperately need my wife. This isn’t a sappy, romantic moment for me to write “sweet nothings” to Andi so she can feel good about herself – this is a theological truth that finds its way practically into our lives everyday. On October 1, 2005 in the Tennessee town of Springfield, Andi and I looked at each other and said, “I do.” From the state’s perspective, at that moment we could sign papers and enjoy the benefits of marriage. From God’s perspective, at that moment we became a “one flesh” entity, forever waving goodbye to any individualistic notions of our lives. Just as the human body cannot be divided into parts and still remain a whole, so too does God intend this to be the reality of marriage. This is explicitly demonstrated in the relationship of Adam and Eve found in Genesis 2:21-24. So, when a couple is married, there ceases to be two entities (the two people) and instead there is now one entity (the marriage). The implications of this on emotional, spiritual, physical, financial, and every other conceivable way are life changing. Now, just because Andi goes to visit a friend for a few days does not, of course, severe the one flesh relationship. What I am suggesting is that when we aren’t together, something just aint right. I hate being apart from her. I hate it. And when you consider the one flesh biblical concept of marriage, it is easier to understand why. God, in his divine providence, brought me and Andi together with our unique set of gifts to contribute to our family. She needs me. I need her. We need each other – because we are one. It can be a very good and revitalizing thing for both Andi and I to have a break from the 24/7 job of raising 3 babies, especially Andi since she is a stay-at-home mom. I’m not denying there are positive aspects of taking time away, and she is in Oklahoma because of her love for a dear friend, something that a marriage should stir up (service and greater love for others). I have taken weekend trips to experience theme parks, etc over the years of our marriage. Yet, I am so thankful that I feel the sting of having her away from my side. In the 7 years we have been married, Andi has taken 2 trips away from me for multiple days. Both times I got deathly sick.
2. I desperately need my church. It’s simple – we are brothers and sisters in Christ. No one likes asking for help, at least I don’t. But I needed help this week and it came flooding through my front door. It is sometimes strange as a pastor who is used to reaching out to folks to be the one on other other side, but it is also encouraging to see the love of Christ in action.
3. I desperately love my children. All three babies woke up about the same time on Tuesday, just as I was hitting the peak of my sickness. My 3 year old, Callie Grace, quite literally was watching out for me. “Callie,” I said, “daddy is very sick. I need you to understand I can’t move very well.” “Daddy,” she said, “I will take care of you.” And she did. She stood behind me and rubbed my back while I was hanging over the toilet. She went into our bedroom and brought me our favorite blanket to “comfort” me. Justus sat by quietly, knowing things weren’t right. Eli was probably laughing at his hands. We all prayed for God to heal me quickly.
4. I desperately need my God. To whom do you turn in your hour of need? God will humble us and lift us up, and somehow He manages to do it atprecisely the right times. Perhaps not the most convenient times, but the right times. Knowing God is the greatest blessing a person can have. I feel like Peter who said in John 6:69, “we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” That changes everything.