I’ve been pretty miserable this week. I had some congestion and sneezing Monday, which got progressively worse as the day went on. I was able to attend Monday worship, but I felt worse as the night went on. Tuesday I had a cough and fever, (in addition to congestion) and didn’t have much energy. I was even weaker on Wednesday, and I woke up Wednesday night/Thursday morning soaked in my own perspiration. The last time I remember being this sick was around 2001 when I caught the flu (I’m assuming that’s what I’m recovering from now).

It’s now Friday and I’m about 90% recovered. My strength has come back, my fever is gone, and I’ll be preaching this Sunday and Monday as planned.

I believe that God wants his children to be “students of life” and learn from all of our experiences. Here are a few things that I have been reminded of this week.

Being sick is a reminder to review my spiritual life. Illness does not necessarily mean that we are under God’s discipline or punishment. It is a mistake to assume illness is God’s judgment (read the Book of Job if you don’t believe me). As a Christian, however, I must pray about this and consider it as a possibility for my sickness (see 1st Corinthians 11:29-31). I think that any believer can benefit from some honest evaluation of his/her spiritual life. Sickness is an opportunity to do this.

Being sick reminds me to be thankful for my health. I think many of us take our health for granted. I must confess that I rarely thank God for the ability to walk, taste, eat and breathe. Your perception changes when you can only breathe through one nostril at a time (especially when trying to sleep). I’ve been blessed with a healthy body—one that rarely gets sick. Some of my friends were even joking about how rare it is for me to be incapacitated like this. Because of this experience, I am more thankful for my health today that I was this time last week.

Being sick reminds me of my own mortality. Sickness reminds me of how fragile health can be and how temporary our earthly lives are. Paul actually described our bodies as “tents,” a place where we will only dwell temporarily (2 Corinthians 5:1). James describes life as a vapor which quickly disappears (James 5:14). I am recovering from my sickness, but one day this will not be the case. One day I will have a heart attack, stroke, or something else happen to me that I will be unable to recover from. This is the fate of every person.

Whatever is happening to you, make a decision to learn from it. Our God is a master teacher!