Of Sickness and Schedules

photo credit: a.drian via photopin cc

photo credit: a.drian via photopin cc

This week has been an interesting one for our family. As with most people, we had in mind what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go over the holidays. It all changed on Saturday when we took our 15 month old son to the doctor.

He had not been feeling well and wasn’t getting any better. We decided it was time to consult our pediatrician. We were glad we did as he was diagnosed with Type A flu.

Then Saturday night came.

First my wife go sick. Then it hit one of the boys. Then it hit me. Then, the next day it hit the fourth (or actually) fifth person.

We missed church on Sunday and felt terrible all that day. Within 24 hours, we were on the upswing, although still dealing with some lingering effects.

Because we weren’t 100%, we delayed our departure for our New Year’s plans by one day, but we were ready to go.

We got up extra early New Year’s eve morning to begin our trek to see our friends in Illinois to celebrate the coming of a new year. Within minutes – literally minutes – of waking up our 15 month old and throwing him in the packed car to start the drive, we got a text suggesting we might want to wait.

It appeared the same flu that attacked our home (and many others we knew) landed in Illinois. One of our friends got sick. Then one of the kids in the house. At last report, it had spread to perhaps one other.

Our trip to Illinois was suddenly aborted.

While the discomfort we experienced is really nothing compared to what others have to deal with, it did remind me of a few verses in the book of James:

“Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. we will do business there and make a profit.’ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? You life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’ Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16)

While our plans were changed, we are still grateful for a good year. God is in control of all things and we need reminded from time to time that we are not.

It made us grateful again for good health and access to doctors. ┬áIt was a subtle reminder that when we aren’t present, the world does go on without us.

Where Is Your Kingdom?

casteThis month in our High School class, we’ve been talking about the Kingdom of God and what Jesus meant by what He said about the Kingdom. One of the first questions we needed to answer is “What is your kingdom?” While we don’t live in a monarchy or look to someone who wears a crown, we all have our kingdoms – places where we exert control or influence. Our kingdom could be our set of friends on Facebook or our followers on Twitter. We determine who makes the list. Our kingdom could be our real-life relationships. All our decisions hinge on what our friends think or say. Our kingdom could be our job, our bank account, our hobbies…pretty much any part of our life where we maintain control. Once we established what our kingdom is, we had to think about what we do when our kingdom bumps into the kingdom of God. What happens when what we want doesn’t match up with what God wants for us.

One of the first verses we looked at was Matthew 6:10, a portion of the Lord’s Prayer: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.” The writers of the material we are using made an interesting point about this verse. They point out that Jesus is using a parallel statement here. Your Kingdom come = Your Will being done. If it really is God’s kingdom, then He is in control. He has the final word on what is done.

Where we struggle with the idea of kingdom is when we aren’t willing to submit our own personal kingdom (or kingdoms) to God’s Kingdom. Rather than His will being done, our will is done. I maintain control, I make the decisions, I determine the direction I go.

It’s an interesting question to wrestle with: “Where is your kingdom?” What area or realms of your lives to do you seek to maintain the control? Then, what does it look like for me to live in God’s Kingdom?