The stomach flu is visiting our house, and so far it has claimed three family members as victims. I am among them. Last night I was writhing in bed. Everything hurt. My scalp throbbed. My fingernails ached. My throat burned from bile and dehydration.
Quite suddenly I had the distinct thought that this illness came to slow me down, to give me clarity. As I pondered what I might learn from this slowing down (the timing of which was most unwelcome), the Spirit whispered, "Be still, and know that I am God."
I haven't taken much time to be still lately. I haven't pondered much, or prayed as earnestly, or searched the scriptures in the way that best serves my spirit. But in the hazy hours since last night's whispered words, I have experienced the peaceful reassurance that God knows my needs. He is ready and waiting to carry my burdens. He will answer my prayers.
Surely it is He that directed sweet friends to leave a plate of cookies on my porch last night.
Only He knows what this gesture means to me this Christmas season. It might be presumptuous of me to assume that our anonymous elves read this blog, but just in case, please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your sweet service.
This morning I read a statement by Marvin J Ashton, a leader in our church, from an article written in February 1994. His words only add to my reverent feelings today.
"Very often over the years, I have had peace and patience knowing that [God] is there and would not forsake me, even though some prayers seem unanswered. What a joy and strength it would be in all of our lives to have the childlike faith and complete trust to know that He is there and we can cry unto Him under all circumstances.
"Perhaps it would be good for our souls to build the understanding that He is there, even our loving and eternal Father, and that oftentimes, delays to our urgent pleas can be best for us. Who is to say it isn't more important to know He is there than to receive immediate answers?"
So today, in the aftermath of the stomach flu, I'm feeling grateful -- grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows my name, answers my prayers, and sends His little angels to leave cookies on my doorstep.