Friday, December 26, 2008


A couple of weeks ago, Deon preached a Sunday evening sermon based on Mark 1:29-31 that made me feel like he had been a "fly on the wall" at my house. In this passage, Jesus and his disciples go to the house of Simon and Andrew, where Jesus learns that Simon's mother-in-law is sick in bed with a fever. Jesus heals the woman of the fever, and she responds by immediately beginning to serve Christ and his followers. Why did Deon's sermon on this passage seem so extraordinarily personal to me?

Two days earlier, I had been sitting at the kitchen table talking with my sister and her husband, who were visiting from out of town. One minute, I was feeling great and enjoying the conversation. The next minute - WHAM - my head felt like it was going to explode, my vision grew blurry, and breakfast decided it was ready to "evacuate the premises." I spent the rest of that Friday either kneeling in front of the household porcelain idol or trying to lie absolutely motionless in bed - the day passed in a dark, painful blur. By Friday evening, my legs felt weak as water but the headache had subsided slightly and the world wasn't spinning as fast whenever I opened my eyes. I staggered into the kitchen thinking that I needed fluids and my neglected kids probably needed dinner. In the kitchen, I discovered my pastor's wife, Gaye, along with an assortment of kids - some of them mine, some of them hers, plus a few others. Oh, no! I thought, I forgot all about the kids' drama practice tonight! I pressed my palms against my throbbing head and tried to ignore my churning stomach. "Hey, you don't look so good!" Gaye laughed. She then assured me she had everything under control, that she would get everyone where they needed to be on time, and then ordered me back to bed. Later that night, as I sat curled in a ball in the bathroom floor, I prayed, God, You simply have to make me better. I can not be sick right now. Never mind Friday night drama practice - Saturday and Sunday were booked full of commitments and responsibilities that could not be ignored.

By Saturday morning, I felt MUCH better and managed to keep down some broth and black tea. By noon, although I still felt weak and tired, the headache and nausea were history. By mid-afternoon, I felt competent to tackle some of the responsibilities on my plate - drive E. back home to Dyersburg, fix a quick dinner, get the older guys to town for their drama performance. Amazingly, a bug that had incapacitated others in the community for the better part of a week only knocked me down for a little over 24 hours.

But did I respond with gratitude for God's gracious provision? Nooooooo. Saturday's obligations behind me, I crawled into bed with a mind full of whining and complaining thoughts. How come this Mom job doesn't allow any time off for sick leave?! Why can't I just call in sick and pamper myself a few days, until I feel ready to go back to work? Sunday morning, I was still full of self-pity and had a crabby, woe-is-me attitude. By Sunday evening, I really did feel pretty much up to 100%, physically, and I was beginning to tire of my negativity as well. . . . just in time for Deon's sermon.

I don't remember every point Deon made during his sermon that night, but, due to my recent intense affair with the toilet, a few things hit me like a two-by-four upside the head. Simon's mother-in-law was sick. Like her, we are all sick - not just sick, but dead in our sin. Christ went to this incapacitated woman and healed her. Likewise, He takes the initiative to seek us out, while we are yet unable to seek Him, and heals us, not simply of a physical fever, but of something much worse - our spiritual deadness. Christ not only healed Simon's mother-in-law of the fever, but He apparently also restored her to health and strength to the point that she was able to serve her Lord and his companions - He made her well, and He empowered her to work. Her response? She got up from her bed and began to wait on them. No feeling sorry for herself about her recent illness. No whining about needing a little more time off to pamper herself. No griping about having to serve someone else so soon after her infirmity. Her Lord healed her; she responded with the heart of a grateful servant.

Sometimes I forget that this Great Story is not all about me, my feelings, my preferences. God created me, redeemed me, sustains me . . . NOT so that I can serve myself, pursue my own goals, indulge my personal desires, but so that I can serve Him. Christ heals me; God, forgive me when I do not respond to your grace with the heart of a grateful servant.

* * * * *
Random Camille factoid: I am one of those people who spends an entire pregnancy throwing up. When most people get sick to their stomachs, they think "Maybe I have a flu bug" or "Have I eaten something bad?" Anytime I throw up, my first thought is always, "Is it possible that I am pregnant again?"
Here is a poem I wrote many, many years ago on one of those (too-frequent!) occasions when I was feeling absolutely overwhelmed by the demands and responsibilities of motherhood:
Who rocks the mommy?
Who soothes her with song
when the day has been full
and has lasted too long?
Who rocks the mommy,
softly kissing her head,
then whispers a prayer
and tucks her in bed?
To all you mommies out there - yours is a noble service. Press on.

1 comment:

teresa said...

Thanks for the timely words. I love you sister.