I am writing this blog entry of Day 18 of being sick, and today is the first day I am feeling hopeful that I will fully recover and resume my fast-paced life. While my body is still healing, the “heaviness” of illness has lifted, so I want to reflect upon lessons I have learned during this season of illness so I don’t forget them in times of health.
All of us wrestle with the pull of our flesh (our natural inclinations) versus the Holy Spirit’s leading. I am disciplined about engaging in the seven fundamental practices regularly, which helps make the Spirit’s voice “louder” and drown out the cravings of the flesh. However, when I am sick, I am unable to engage in some of those spiritual disciplines regularly.
As I am in this transitional state of moving from sick to well, I am much more acutely aware of just how “loud” my flesh becomes when I am unable to engage in the seven fundamental practices. The pain in my body was drowning out the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, making it much more difficult for me to listen to God’s voice.
Throughout my illness, I forced myself to say multiple times a day: “I know that God loves me. I know that He is good. I know that He is here with me right now. And I know that He is in control.” The longer I was in physical pain, the less I believed this. On some days, I could not say those words without crying, and I now realize that my tears were an expression of my internal battle to believe God despite everything my body was “screaming” in my physical pain.
I always engage in praise and worship before writing for this blog. Tonight, this experience was such a joy, and yet for the last 17 days, praise & worship was a chore that I did not enjoy. I did not “feel” the Spirit’s presence as I did today.
This helped me realize that loving God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength is not a feeling – it’s a choice. I did not feel like I was getting anything out of praise & worship while I was sick, but I still chose to do it anyhow because I love God. Perhaps that’s what Bible means by a “sacrifice of praise” – when we choose to honor God, even when we really don’t feel like it, because we love Him more than what we prefer to do or not do.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace lying on the floor under the words, “I can’t even.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]