Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Natural Response

I had already decided not to post this week.

With three children and me all catching the stomach flu on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, then my husband succumbing to its grips on Saturday, my time with God this week has been very little, too little to give you some human-contrived lesson from the Word.

Don't get me wrong. Each of my days has been littered with a hundred short bursts of prayer for healing, for strength to make it another hour, for please not another load of laundry tonight.

But God speaking back to me? If He did, my ears didn't hear over the sick cries of three children as I reeled from my own sickness.

This afternoon, as I cared for those three now-recovering children, as I fussed over a still very sick husband in bed, literally out of nowhere, the apostle Peter popped into my mind.

I lay down for a ten minute breather, remembering (vaguely) the story of Peter's mother-in-law. I guess I've always just thought of the disciples as men with little to no family responsibilities other than themselves. Stupid thought, I now realize. If Peter had a mother-in-law, then Peter had family obligations.

I wondered how did he do it? How did Peter--the disciple, one of three in Jesus' inner circle--how did he fully follow Christ yet still have time to take care of a sick mother-in-law?

I shook my head in wonder and defeat, knowing all too well that my following Christ this week has seemed much, much less than "fully" as I've taken care of my sick body and a sick family.

But then I took the next step and looked up the passage of Scripture. Mark says, "Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them" (Mk. 1:30-31).

Luke says upon her healing, "she immediately got up and waited on them" (Lk. 4:39). Matthew, too, reports the healing...and the woman's waiting on them once she is healed.

Three out of four gospels record this story. And all three emphasize (1) the intensity of her sickness (a high fever), (2) Jesus intervening by completely healing her, and (3) the woman's act of serving Jesus once she was healed.

It's the third part God wanted me to see.

She was healed. She served...not out of necessity, but out of gratitude for what the Lord had done for her.

When God healed me this week, I began serving my children, my husband...what I thought was a required action, and in one way, it was.

But in another way, I serve my children and my husband because I am called to love as Jesus loves...and one way to show my gratitude for His healing me is to serve Him by agape-loving those around me even when they are really, really unlovable.

The same idea applies in other realms of our lives. When God does a work in our lives, whether that work is physical healing, financial healing, or spiritual healing--our natural response should be to serve Him...immediately.

Image: copyright of Corbis images.

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