"The good thing about being sick," Cathy told me on Monday when I was begging her to find a shotgun and kill me, "is that when you start feeling better, you feel SO MUCH better!" As always, she's right.
I've been laid up with the flu this past week, it suddenly coming on me last Sunday afternoon. Thanks to the medical ministrations of Dr. Don, the praying ministrations of the people at the church (especially the Tuesday morning prayer group), the caring ministrations of so many folks in our church family and in the staff and friends around the world, and the constant ministrations to soul and body of my wife Cathy (I have felt like one of her cats this week- all I have done is find places to sleep around the house and wait for her to come home to feed me!), I am much better. God uses all kinds of ways to heal us. As a matter of fact, I started feeling better about an hour ago (it is now 1:40 a.m. on Friday, March 22), when my headache that I have had since Sunday afternoon went away. I woke up from a fitful sleep because my head stopped hurting. Then I noticed the aches in the rest of my body were gone. I still have a terrible cough, but that will go away. Soon, I hope.
The point is, I woke up feeling how good it is to feel normal again.
Which is odd. Most of us don't want normal days. We think of them as boring, uninspiring, dull. Sometimes even lifeless. We are so used to being entertained and excited, that everyday life seems almost pointless unless we can say "Wow!" all the time.
I read an article recently in which a respected teacher talked about the difference between fireworks and a candle. Fireworks, he said, make us look at the dark and say "Wow!" but only for a little while. On the other hand, even a small candle on a dark night can draw a family together or lead a ship in from stormy seas.
We need the fireworks occasionally, but it is the candle that keeps up together. The joy of ordinary, normal, days. Maybe that's what days of hardship and pain do for us; remind of how nice it is to have normal days.
I do not wish for any of you days of pain or grief (though they will come to each of us). But I do wish for you to see the joy of normal, ordinary days.