I have the flu. My nose is ”topped’ up; my head is pounding. My head feels like it contains at least six gallons of mucus. I’m not on a treadmill, but my nose is running. My fever must be at least 98.7 degrees. I don’t feel like getting up, and I don’t feel like lying down. I am so sick that I am lying in bed watching “Family Feud” and “Little House on the Prairie.”
I have another key symptom: The sicker I get, the more I talk like a child. My wife asked, “What is wrong with you?” I hope she was asking about my physical health and not referring to the way I do things, but sometimes, it’s hard to tell.
“I bon’t peel good.”
“You don’t feel good?”
“That’s what I said. I BON’T peel good!” It’s a good thing my wife raised two other boys and can understand a sick man’s language.
“Why don’t you feel good?”
“I bon’t doe.”
“Does your head hurt?”
“Are you running a fever?”
“Do you think you’re going to die?”
“You just have a cold. Drink some water, take a Tylenol and get some rest.” And out the door she went. I didn’t even get one “poor baby” or “I’m so sorry.” I guess I shouldn’t expect much from a woman who has given birth twice without an epidural, but couldn’t she at least pat my hand and say, “Now, now, it’s going to be all right”?
I don’t know how I got the flu, although I did eat a vegetable last week. I’ve been so careful to wash my hands, stay away from sick people and so on. But I guess when I flew home from Israel with 300 people crammed into a plane for 12 hours, hacking and sneezing, I was bound to get something.
I don’t do sick well; I guess there are many men like me. We can play basketball with a broken arm, but when we get the flu, we are helpless.
When I was in Israel, I visited many of the places where Jesus interacted with those who were sick. In the Church of Magdala, the home of Jesus’ disciple Mary Magdalene, they have a beautiful mural of the feet of a crowd. A hand stretches from among the sandals to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment.
The mural portrays the hand of the woman who had been bleeding profusely for 12 years without one day’s reprieve. Shunned by society, an outcast at best, as the crowd pressed around Jesus, she believed if she could only touch the hem of His robe, she would be healed. But to do this, she had to break the Jewish law that said a woman in her condition was not allowed to touch a rabbi. She was so desperate for healing that she pushed her way through.
I don’t know how many people were pressing against Jesus that day, but Scripture says He knew the instant she touched Him and spoke to her: “Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you’” (Matt. 9:22). Once again, I am amazed at the way Jesus interacted with those who were sick.
I also visited the site of one my all-time favorite stories about Jesus. He passed a blind man, and the disciples broke out into a discussion about why this man was born blind. Was it his fault, or his parents’?
Isn’t that like the world? When a need arises, we try to figure out who to blame. The disciples tried to drag Jesus into the conversation. While they were chatting like chipmunks over to one side, Jesus was doing something about the blind man’s need. He spat in the dirt and made mud balls to place on the man’s eyes. Then He told him to go to the Pool of Siloam, wash his eyes, and he would see.
Desperate, the man did what Jesus said and regained his sight. I suppose when his longtime friends asked who had helped him see, he answered, “I don’t know. I didn’t see who it was.”
While I am lying here, not “Peeling good,” I need to stop and count my blessings. I’ve never had leprosy or been blind or lame. In fact, God has blessed me with extraordinary health. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and remember that the Bible says, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness” (Matt. 9:35).
So if you hear of Jesus coming to Tulsa, can you send him to my house? I bon’t peel good.