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On Vomiting, Germs, and the Kingdom

So, I could have titled this “On Sickness and the Kingdom,” but then it would have been a little more sanitary.

The Kingdom of God is a messy, messy place.

Judah Ben Hur's family

A still from the epic movie _Ben Hur_. On the left are Judah’s mother and sister, both lepers from their time forgotten in prison. On the right is Judah’s beloved Esther, who cares for the women.

Starting last week, the three of us in the Longview Beck clan have had a stomach virus. It’s a curious thing—it comes and goes at its fancy. I’m not sure whether to be thankful for the rest between bouts of yuck or to get angry and tell it to go the hell away. Maybe I should do both.

But it has made me think of something that isn’t that comfortable to think about: Jesus’ call to care for the sick. This is serious stuff.

Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gaveMe nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after Me.‘ They will also answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’
Matthew 25

Food, water, clothing, housing—check. I can volunteer with my church or other organizations to do this, no problem. But…

Hanging out with sick people.

Not so much.

Being sick is very lonely, and I have only been sick for a few days. My illness was contagious. I worried about passing it on to other people, especially people I care about like my parents and my friends. It’s hard to ask for help when you’re sick because there are consequences for the people you reach out to.

I am challenged to reach out to people who are sick, trusting God to be a shield to me and my children. Not my favorite part of walking with Jesus, I have to admit, the whole trusting Him with my health. I like control…don’t we all?

So, as a pregnant-mom-of-a-toddler, I am praying that the life of God will be more contagious in me than the illness in people I encounter.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

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