It doesn’t happen often, praise be to God, but I recently was off work for nearly a week with some kind of a virus.
The last time I called in sick was 3.2 years ago. And before that? Hum. Maybe 9 years ago I was off for two days with a bad cough? The bottom line is, I’ve had to call in sick so infrequently that I didn’t even remember the procedure I was supposed to follow!
I am no different from anyone else in that I don’t particularly like being sick, but I am happy to report that I don’t get as upset about illness as I once did. God has been speaking to me about how He is in control, period: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.” (2 Chron. 20:6 NIV). Not that illness is His will, but if it happens, I can count on Him to make everything beautiful in its time (See Eccl. 3:11). As a result, when this particular bug descended upon me seemingly out of nowhere, I am happy to say that I wasn’t upset. I knew that one of the following would happen: a) It would miraculously go away; b) It would be brief and painless; or c) God would carry me through without any ill-effects.
Of course, I kind of did hope for option “a”, and when that didn’t happen, I was pretty sure option “b” would be just as good. Several days into the illness, however, I realized I was in for option “c”. Nonetheless, the way God orchestrated everything was amazing to see.
You see, our full-time assistant had been off work due to illness for the two weeks prior to me being off. When a therapist such as myself is off work, patients tend to be covered by the assistants, but when an assistant is off work, who is there to cover? I remember thinking the week before, “it’s a good thing none of the therapists were off at the same time…” But the assistant returned to work the day before I fell ill…
Another blessing was that our department had four excellent students, wonderful girls who, during the time I needed to be off, were in the final two weeks of their internships and were fully capable of taking over without the supervision of a therapist. What that basically meant was that we had almost double the usual staff. What better time to be off sick?
Another blessing was evident in our “swallowing” caseload. A huge part of my job responsibility lies in caring for patients who have swallowing needs. The “swallowing patients” of therapists who are off work, cannot, unfortunately, be handled by an assistant, but must be covered by another therapist who likely already has more than a full caseload of “swallowing patients” of her own. We had all been extremely busy with “swallowing patients” for several weeks leading up to the sick incident, but by the beginning of the week I went off, none of us had more than one or two each…
My son was also due home from university later that week. How thankful I was that he wasn’t home when I first got sick and was the most contagious. I also had to take my mom to Toronto the following week. It certainly wouldn’t do to be sick that day. Finally, we were scheduled to move our oldest son home from university the following weekend. I would definitely want to be full of energy that day as well! The week God choose for my illness was definitely the best…
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. We can count on the promise of Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)
Of course, I can imagine all of you mumbling to yourselves that it would be better to not be sick at all, and I would tend to agree with you. But was there something God was protecting me from by keeping me at home? I will not know the answer to that question this side of Heaven. I do know that my sleep pattern, never good since my cancer diagnosis in 2012, had been worse than usual, and staying off work forced my body to get the rest it craved. That couldn’t be a bad thing either!
The point is, God can and does heal. Sometimes He heals instantly, and other times He accelerates the natural healing process. Sometimes, however, He allows us to go through the brunt of the illness. Even then, you can be sure His timing is always right, and that somehow and in some way, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Eccl 3:11 NIV).
Whatever it is you’re going through right now, know that God is still at the helm. You can trust Him with your health as well as with any other problem you might be facing, for: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Ps. 18:2 NIV)
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.