Faith and flu bugs

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Asian flu, Russian flu, virus A, virus B -- the air is full of bad bugs. There is no escape. All of us will get bit sooner or later.

Life is fragile. We receive life from God as a gift, breath by breath. We take our breathing for granted. It's when we get the flu that we become aware of how hard it is to "get our breath." We suffer from a raspy throat; we feel achy. Every breath causes us pain. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for our suffering. And we wonder why the mean and ornery people never seem to come down with the flu or catch a cold, and why the righteous people seem to catch every bad bug that comes along.

The Scriptures provide us with some answers to these questions.

Sickness and suffering come to every person eventually. No one is immune. Even Jesus had to contend with sickness and disease. Jesus was human like us. He did not deny when he was ill or use suffering to call attention to himself. Jesus did not feel that his suffering was God's way of punishing him for some sin.

Jesus admitted his human weakness. He used those moments of human suffering to draw nearer to his God. Suffering can lead us to a deeper dependence on God. Illness allows us time for meditation and prayer, time to consider what is truly important in our lives. Sickness and suffering can be doorways to a greater faith in God. That increased faith can lead us to gain spiritual victories.

So, if the flu bug gets you down, don't give up. See your doctor. Get plenty of rest. Drink lots of juice. And let those flu bugs give rise to a deepening of your faith in God!

Dr. Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister living in Jackson.

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