It seems many are sick right now, including our entire household. Is there ever a 'good' time to be sick? Of course, we would all say "NO!" But, there certainly are bad times to be sick, aren't there? I was folding laundry on my bed today with some random thoughts running through my mind that I'm going to seek to redeem right here in this blog entry.
I was thinking through a few of the untimely illnesses our family has experienced in the past couple of years. Here's a brief chronicle of them:
1. Christmas, 2003: I was about 2 months pregnant with the twins. We were scheduled to have 30 of Lawrence's extended family to our home for the first time for their annual family Christmas gathering. I came down with a nasty stomach virus, the kind that comes out both ends! I was miserably stuck in bed, with barely enough energy to get to our bathroom only 3 feet away let alone entertain Lawrence's entire family!
2. Boys' first birthday: We found ourselves in the ER with Judah having his 2nd asthma attack within 3 months. Only three days later, August 6th, 2005, was my brother's wedding in Pennsylvania. Wonderful friends of ours who have had more than their fair share of untimely illnesses (thank you for being our constant inspiration, Jason and Laurie!) courageously volunteered to do nebulizer treatments and count the boys' respirations for the several hours we would be up in PA for my brother's wedding. They really didn't want us to miss it. So, as nervous a mother I was (am), I left the boys, and we headed for the PA border. I think we made it about 5 minutes from home when I called to check in only to hear that Tucker was now the one hysterical and breathing way too fast. We rushed back to the Reyes' to determine that Tucker was having his first asthma attack. Needless to say, we missed my brother's wedding that day!
3. Probably the one that takes the cake happened this past May, 2006. We found ourselves at Hopkins' Emergency Department to follow up on some concerns Judah's neurologist had regarding potential elevated Intracranial pressure. Judah had to be seen at the ER in order to have a CT Scan and lumbar puncture done promptly to determine whether or not he indeed had elevated ICP. Judah hadn't eaten all day because of all the tests, and so when we got home, we gave him as much food as he would eat, knowing that he'd have to fast for the next day's MRI. Over night, Tucker and Judah both began to throw up within hours of each other. Around 4 a.m, I started to not feel so well. It wasn't very long after that, we determined a stomach virus had found its way to our home. Lawrence was the only one left standing (that day anyway!)
We weren't sure that Judah would be allowed to undergo the anasthesia needed for his MRI given he had been throwing up and was sick. But, under these circumstances, the docs told us to bring him in for the MRI anyway.
Lawrence would have had to take Judah by himself to Hopkins apart from his brother, Sam, volunteering to go with him. Somehow, Judah got through the MRI but threw up a couple times in the car on the way there and home again. Meanwhile, I was sick at home in bed with no ability to take care of the "other one". So, yet another dear friend, De Neumann, came to our rescue (as she has so many other times). She came to care for me and my son, Tucker, that day with no thought of her own health being put at risk.
I recovered from the stomach virus along with the boys just in time for Lawrence to get it! A couple days later, we were in the hospital for Judah's brain surgery.
These are just three vivid recollections I have of untimely illnesses going through our home, but there have been many others. It seems every time Lawrence and I have planned to go out of town, the boys have gotten sick, usually with asthma complications which makes it so difficult to leave them with anyone as asthma can be so touchy if not treated right.
In my flesh, I have usually come upon these incidents and questioned God's timing or at least grumbled about it. But, today as I considered these untimely illnesses with redemption and God's faithfulness in mind, I realized just how timely they were. Had these illnesses come at a "better" time, I would not have known how well loved and cared for we are by so many of our friends and members of our church body. I would not have been able to see God's power rest on us, being made perfect in our very obvious weakness. I would not have been able to see God mercifully sustain my family members when I was incapable of doing so on my own. There would not have been opportunities for others to pray on our behalf and see God come through for us with tangible provision when it looked like there would be none. I would not have had the opportunity to be humbled by the awareness and experience of how finite and weak I am and how infinite and strong God is. I would not have had my grip on the pleasures of this world and our temporal life loosened had it not been for these untimely illnesses.
So, today, as I am sitting in my "sickbed" once again, I am giving thanks for God's perfect wisdom and timing in granting us seasons of sickness. Thank you, Lord, that truly You do work all things together for our good and your glory. Help me to remember this if I don't experience relief soon from this current illness or for the next time illness or trial hits our home in an "untimely" fashion. Help me to have faith in Your faithfulness, God.