Friday, February 27, 2009

The flu and Phillipians 2

One of the most challenging verses for me to live out in the Bible is Phillippians 2:14: "Do everything without complaining or arguing.." I memorized this verse in college, and it is one that I haven't forgotten. I am convicted of this verse often. Whenever I find myself complaining my mind immediately floats to Phillippians 2:14,"Do everything without complaining..." This week I experienced something that always brings this verse to mind: having sick kids.

Beginning on Sunday night, Isaac and Caleb have had a bad case of the flu. They have taken turns with fevers, vomiting and body aches. Isaac spent nearly the entire day yesterday in bed with a fever we just couldn't get to break. I have hardly slept for two nights with three boys who have needed me to feed them, medicate them, and try to make them more comfortable. Surely it's okay to complain a little bit when I've had a rough week like this, right?


According to Phillipians 2 I am supposed to do everything without complaining, even taking care of sick kids. But how do I do that? It is so hard not to grumble when I am completely exhausted, and then have to wake up for the fifth time during the night to take care of a crying child. When Luke comes home from work, it's hard not to complain to him about the horrible day I have had and how exhausted I am. How do I go through weeks like this one and not complain about the circumstances God has given me?

While I don't do this perfectly (just ask Luke!) I feel like God has grown me a lot in this area over the last several years. One way I have learned to fight the temptation to complain is to train myself to look for blessings in every situation. When our kids are sick I try to focus on how, overall, God has blessed our family abundantly with good health. Our family has had no serious illnesses, injuries, or surgeries. The occasional cold or flu virus is all we have really had to deal with. When I am tempted to complain, I remind myself of all the families who have kids with serious, life-threatening illnesses and how they would rejoice if their child could only have the flu. When I think about those parents, it makes my trial seem miniscule, and my complaining ridiculous. Focusing on how God has blessed us not only trains me to have a grateful heart, it also puts my trials in perspective and shows me how I really have a pretty easy life.

I've also come to realize that, although I don't wish sickness on my kids, it's good for them spiritually. They need to have trials if they are going to learn how to rely on God. I realized this last year when Isaac was sick with a virus of some sort. While he was feeling badly, I asked him, "Is there anything I can do for you?" He replied "Just pray for me!" This wasn't the response I was expecting, but I was so glad to hear him say it. Luke and I often pray with the boys when they are sick, and Isaac had recognized the power of prayer and that God is the ultimate Healer. If you use these times of sickness as spiritual teaching tools, they can have a very powerful impact on your child.

I don't get excited when my kids start getting sick, and I am always soooo thankful when the germs have left our home and everyone is healthy again. But I also know what God promises me in Romans 8:28: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God..." God doesn't bring a virus into our home and then just leave us to deal with it by ourselves. He's always there with us, and we need to look for ways to thank Him and praise Him during the trial instead of grumble about our situation.

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