I remember stumbling upon a series of books by Merlin Carothers way back in my late teens. I devoured several books in the series, starting with my late grandmother’s copy of “Prison to Praise”. The essence of these books was how praise works, especially when we choose do it in the midst of a trying circumstance.
I’ve heard it said that we thank God for what He’s done, and praise Him for who He is. When we choose to praise God amid our difficulties, we reaffirm our faith in Him who will work it all out for our good and His glory.
When we went through an extended period of sickness last month, I tried to praise God and stand on His promises. Let me tell you, it was not easy. My affirmative prayers and words of praise quickly turned to desperation, pleading, and a whole lot of whining. I definitely was not a pleasant person to be with at that time!
Now that we’re all back to good health, I’ve been led to thank God for that period of sickness, and make note of what He has taught me through it all.
1. I’ve learnt to appreciate good health
I woke up with a sprained back today, and even the easiest task seems herculean right now. I needed help to roll out from bed, and the tiniest movement causes me immense pain. This (and our past sickness) made me realize how often I take a regular day for granted. Not anymore! I am grateful that the kids are not coughing, my husband is strong, and I am able.
2. I’ve learnt patience, endurance and selfless service
I’ve never been good with waiting, but sickness has taught me to patiently endure – whether I like it or not. There was little I could do, but wait till the infection subsided and the fever ran its course. But it wasn’t passive waiting either. A mother can’t remain passive when her family is suffering. Mopping up messes, changing soiled clothes, taking temperatures every hour, swabbing hot bodies, cajoling kids to take their meds, staying alert through the night… None of it was easy, but it had to be done.
Sometimes putting our families’ needs above our own comes naturally, but not always. It was a good experience for me to ignore my discomfort, and selflessly serve my family that needed me. True, I did not have the best attitude, but I’m learning to cheerfully give of myself (even when I don’t want to!). I have a feeling this is one lesson God will keep trying to teach me until I finally get it! 😉
3. I’ve learnt that God’s grace and strength are just enough.
Those who know me personally will attest that I am not a physically strong person. I can be very determined though, and that has helped me ease through physically tough seasons in the past. But my determination and will-power fizzled out within the first week of our sickness. I was completely drained out and on the verge of collapse. But God… He remained faithful. He gave me just enough grace and strength to make it through yet another day.
I would wake up every morning those 3 weeks, wishing that would be the day all our kids would finally be fever free. I would get up from bed, knowing I did not have the strength to make it through another grueling day. But God… He always held me up when I was ready drop down. And my husband (God bless him), always took over when he knew I needed a break.
It’s never easy when our kids fall sick, and it’s worse still when we fall sick along with them. But I am grateful for the generation we live in. We have easy access to good doctors and effective treatments, and the money to pay for it.
No matter how much we try to protect ourselves, as long as we are in this world, we will fall sick. We need to believe we are the apple of God’s eyes. He holds our families in the palm of His hands. He will strengthen us and watch over us, until we meet Him face to face in the land where there is no sickness or pain.