Shallowed breathing. Cold sweats. Laying on the cold tile of my bathroom floor separated only by a bath towel that is now drenched with the toxic sweat, seaping out from my pores, virus trying to find its way out.
I don't know how long I laid there, limp, the life blood near drained from my body. Blood pressure must have been scarily low as I could barely lift a brow let alone arms or legs to carry me to my bed.
The dreaded stomach virus hit our home yesterday. And, by God's kind mercy, yes, I am writing about it just a day later. Amazing how one can go to hell and back in less than 24 hours.
In the midst of hours, seemed days, of chills, aches, fever, diarrhea and dry heaving, I experienced some incredible joy and the nearness of God unmatched by more apparent calm, comfortable and coherent moments in my life.
While lying on that cold tile, sweating profusely, unable to move, I heard in my head the words Ann Voskamp prayed at the IF Conference, referring to Queen Esther and the "Esther generation" of today's Christian women who will stand up and live unashamedly and fearlessly for Jesus, "If I perish, I perish."
And, I thought, "If I perish, if this is how I'm going down, I'm going down giving thanks." The words to a well known worship song came to mind, "As long as I have breath (even shallowed), I will praise you; As long as my heart beats (even rapidly), I will sing. As long as life flows through my veins (even with virus mixed in with it), I will bless your name."
At some point, I found my way back to bed. By this time, my daughter was beside me having had experienced her own "to hell and back" vomiting that my husband so heroically walked her through and cleaned her up from.
Freezing but sizzling to the touch, achy and restless, I wondered if fever had set in. It had. As I waited it out, again I experienced the incredible nearness of God. So comforted by His presence, reminded of the truths that the darkness cannot dampen His light (Psalm 139:12), He will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5), that wherever I go, He will be there (Psalm 139:7).
My thankful heart was buoyed, too, by remembrances of my dad, in the last days of his life battling cancer, walking the hallways of the hospital with bible and IV pole to tell anyone and everyone who would give him the time of day (and probably some who wouldn't) about Jesus, His Savior and friend; of Carol Turek who laid in bed for more than a decade, staving away bed sores by the massage mat under her and compassionate caregivers who would stretch her limbs, neck and head, praying through her prayer list diligently because this was her living sacrifice, her spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:2); of Jonathan Talley, whose keyboard has sat in our basement for a month now, unplayed because he had to return to Hopkins for complications due to his third kidney transplant but who is undeterred to do what it takes to live, to persevere in the life God has given him for the purpose of living for Christ.
And I gave thanks for these people, these lovers of Jesus who suffered or are suffering well for the glory and fame of Christ, fueled by His nearness and grace, who waited or are waiting still for complete healing but with every step proclaim the truth that healing will come. It has come.
Our healer is Jesus--not just of our physical bodies but of our souls, sin sick souls, who desperately need someone to take on human flesh and be perfect, unlike we can be, and then take the punishment from God, our Creator, that we deserve for turning our backs on Him. And He did. He came. He was perfect. He took the wrath of God that we deserved when He died on that Roman cross. More than an event in our history's timeline. This was LIFE come to a dying world.
Jesus meets me when I have NOTHING. Laying on a cold, tile, bathroom floor, He meets me. Resting feverish in my bed, He meets me. And, I believe with all that is in me that he wants to meet you, too. I don't know who reads this blog of mine aside from Danielle Jones who so kindly comments from time to time, but I am praying for anyone who does read this post. Whether you know Jesus or not, I am praying He will meet you today.