By Tom Batterson
Where have I witnessed God working lately?
I have been sick (influenza). Now, you may be expecting a message about how God healed me, saving me from the anguish of this terrible virus. But that is not what He had in mind. I say, “He had in mind,” because that is exactly what I had in mind…
Instead, I went to see the doctor who prescribed me Tammiflu and put me out of work for four days. Now, the Tammiflu does a fantastic job of knocking the flu down to size. I felt much better in about 24 hours, not 100%, but better. However, a combination of the Tammiflu and the still-active influenza made me drowsy and more than a little scatterbrained. And that is really where my lesson began.
The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction.“ -Exodus 24:12
I have been taught the Idea of taking a Sabbath many times. But this time, it finally stuck; it finally made sense to me. God told Moses to “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here…” What a strange way for God to phrase walking directions. I mean, when you’re on top of the mountain, you’re on top of the mountain, right? But there is something more to it.
See, God knows the human mind, and so He knows that our nature is to begin planning and preparing our way back down as soon as we get to the top of the mountain. God knows that in this process, Moses won’t be mentally present on top of the mountain, and he’ll miss it. And God wants Moses to be fully present, resting and aware of what God is doing.
So back to me and the Tammiflu…
On the second day, I was mentally alert enough to feel like I should be accomplishing something. I mean I have lessons to write for my students, I have a stack of books I need to read, I have pod-casts to catch up on, I have disciples to catch up with, I have a blog that needs another entry, e-mails to catch up on, dishes stacking up in the sink, work schedules to write for 40+ employees, a new store manager to train… I have a lot on my plate!
But each time I tried to do something, I just couldn’t stick with it. My reading was at best schizophrenic with four books and the Bible going in one hour alone. I couldn’t stand long enough to do any meaningful amount of dishes. The notes I tried to type for my blog were not coherent (not that they always are under normal circumstances). I couldn’t concentrate long enough to dig through any significant amount of e-mails. I would loose track of what was being taught in pod-casts… Do you get the idea?
In the midst st of all this, my wife was trying to take care of our sick family. She was taking the kids to different doctors appointments, dropping off prescriptions, picking up prescriptions, dispensing medicine, cleaning and disinfecting the house, doing all of the shopping & cooking….. All in all, she was being Supermom!
So, I finally gave up and just sat down on the couch and said, “God, help me do something.” And then, it happened… My 18 month-old daughter curled up in my lap and just held me, just stayed there with me for I don’t know how long. I felt as if God was saying, “Stay here.”
Of all of my children, I think she and I have the worst relationship. I know that sounds crazy because she is only 18 months old. But my son and I wrestle and play and have had a lot of alone time in his almost seven years. And my three year-old daughter cooks with me almost daily, invites me to play dolls far to often, and always gets herself involved in what ever I’m doing. But my youngest daughter and I don’t have that kind of relationship…
It dawned on me that I was missing it. I felt God slowing me down and saying, “Don’t get so caught up in doing that you miss the gifts I have given you.”
So, thank you God for influenza!
Tom is a radical insurgent for Christ. He is bi-vocational working as a youth pastor and managing a large bookstore. He lives with his wife Kimberly and their three incredibly unique children in southwest Michigan.