“God, at this moment my physical body is pained and dying as I hang on my cross next to You, but I cry out to you, ‘ABBA, forgive me- hear my cry!’ and You say, ‘Truly I say, TODAY you shall be with Me in paradise!’ Hallelujah and Amen.”
Those were the last words I said clearly on Good Friday before temporarily losing my voice for about one week.
Literally, as soon as I finished, the sickness that was building up inside of me made its grand entrance and I lost my voice. In place of my voice I was given a scratchy throat, runny nose, a bad cough, and fatigue. No, I didn’t have a cold or the flu, I had a sinus infection combined with an allergic reaction to the junk that I had been feeding my body (but that’s a message for another day).
No offense to the men, but when I’m sick, I become a big baby. I mope around all day and night, silently shouting from my broken and germed body, “I’m sick; feel pity on me.” I text and call everyone, asking them to drop whatever they are doing so that they can bring me orange juice and cranberry juice… and stare at me lovingly in my sickness.
I’m truly quite pathetic when I’m sick.
And I’m ok with that.
Once my orange juice/water/cranberry juice cocktail is prepared and my tea of choice is ready, I grab one more item before I go and pass out from [exaggerated] sickness.
I grab my sick bag.
This is typically a Walmart plastic bag that has my vitamin-c drops, elderberry drops, a box of tissues, and a thermometer (for added drama). When I am sick I never move an inch without this bag, for fear that I will need something and not be near it. So as I walked in my sinus sickness for 12 days, I carried that bag around like a new appendage.
But, thank God for that 13th day.
On this past Wednesday I decided to upgrade my Walmart bag to a cute butterfly gift bag. I carried around my tissues and drops in this new bag and I felt a bit fancy. It was like I made my sickness cute and more acceptable (follow me here) by decorating the appendage that I carried. As I said, I typically carry this bag everywhere when I am sick, yet on Thursday (day 13) as I walked from the car into my discipleship class, I had decided that I had had enough. I left my bag in the car and walked to class without my sick bag.
I separated myself from my sickness.
I separated myself from what I allowed to define who I was for a period of time.
As I left the bag in the car, I said to God [and myself] that it was time for me to be well. Granted, my voice had returned (to the dismay of many) but I still had some other germiness going on. In my humanness, I needed that bag to be able to readily access the things that I thought I needed to get better. But in my spirit, I knew that my healing lied outside of the contents of that bag or any other. Walking away from my sick bag on Thursday was my way of telling my body just Who my God is.
He is Jehovah Rapha.
He is my Healer.
And no earthly items would be able to heal what only God could fix.
Today (day 17 from the original sickness), I am feeling much better. My voice has returned, the sneezing and coughing have ceased, and my nose bleeds are subsiding. My sick bag has been tucked away for another time and today I am walking free.
Beloved, I pray you heard/read what I said in my story- I prettied up my mess so that others could see and take pity on me. My literal sick bag mirrored the fasting story that Jesus mentions in Matthew chapter 6.
I needed to be seen.
I needed to be pitied.
I needed to be dramatic.
I needed attention.
The trials that we experience as Christians are designed to make us stronger, draw us closer to God, and reveal God’s glory. Because we have victory in Christ Jesus, no battle can destroy us when we call on the name of Jesus. Romans 8:37 says that we are more than conquerors in Christ. That means we do more than win; we overwhelmingly defeat our enemy!
I don’t know what your sick bag may be. You know, that thing that you must carry around because you think it makes you seen or whole. Your sick bag is that added weight that you carry when you are trying to do things on your own instead of walking with God. Yeah, I don’t know what your sick bag may be but I encourage you to set it down and let it ‘lone. Instead of carrying that weight, I implore you to try Jesus. He said in Matthew 11:28-30 that we should “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
Drop your sick bag and try Jesus for yourself.