I just spent one of my favourite weekends doing my least favourite thing … being sick. It’s just how it seems to go, isn’t it? The dreaded cold bug starts its inevitable inward spiral through acquaintances and friends, towards your home and family and you pray and pray that it will somehow miss this time around. Or that maybe you’ll be the only one who doesn’t get it. Or that maybe it will just hold off until things aren’t so busy …
Like a shadowy stalker it pounces in a stealthy sniffle and a light pressure on the chest. By morning it has brought you down. But like a gazelle with a relentless lioness hanging on your throat you stagger onward – that important (and all day) District meeting two hours away … your congregation’s All Saints Sunday Celebration … the luncheon after … the voter’s meeting after that … And somewhere in the mucus choked delirium your heart cries out “WHY ME!” “WHY NOW!” “WHY CAN’T I JUST GO HOME TO BED?” “WHY ON ALL SAINTS, when there is so much extra to do?” WHY ON ALL SAINTS when I won’t even be able to sing so many of my favourite hymns?”
And then the hymn you are actually reading because you can’t sing hits you right between your watery eyes. “We feebly struggle, they in glory shine; Yet all are one in Thee for all are Thine.” (LSB #677, st. 4) And that still small voice says “Why Not?” Why not you? Why not now? Why should you be any different than any other saint who has gone before. Did they never get sick? Did they never complain? Did they never once think why can’t I just go home to bed? And they at least had struggles worth complaining about! Struggles for faith and fidelity to the Gospel. Struggles of life and death. And then I start to think of poor St. Bob who had to share four hours of disease clogged air with me in the car ride to and from the meeting. Or St. Trish who (even though I’m not as much of a baby as some men when they get sick) had to pull double duty around the house and looking after the children – even while sick herself.
And then it all starts to come back into perspective. What do I have to complain about? Tomorrow will be better … maybe. Yet, even if it isn’t – even if my spiritual struggles are never more praiseworthy than getting over feeling sorry for myself – I’m in good company. And “Why Me?” Because I’m in God’s company. I’ve been called, gathered and enlightened in His great Church, the Communion of Saints. I’ve been Baptized in the blood of the lamb. And even though I feebly struggle now, one day I will come through my great (or not so great) tribulations to shine with all those saints of God gathered before the throne of our Lord.