It took ten minutes maybe to get the phone call from the school. We had just dropped our youngest off at 4K and made our way to pick up some coffee before a kid free morning date at Aldi when my husband's phone rang. He answered it, listened, hung up, and turned us around. Unbeknownst to us, Heidy was sick. That cold sore I saw in her mouth that morning? The one that made me think "weird"? It wasn't weird. It was Hand Foot and Mouth Disease.
And let me tell you- HFMD is no joke. We are on Day 6 of the illness.
Yet, this whole experience reminds me of what a loving God we have. It actually illuminates 4 important points to me about our relationship with God and each other.
1. Our sickness does not sway God's love. God is not disgusted by us. He is holy. He cannot be in the presence of our sinfulness, yet He loves us completely. No matter how feverish and slobbery and whiny my daughter is, my heart is full of love for her. Her chubby little legs are still adorable. Her arms strung around my neck warm me to the bones. There are times, recent times, when I am disgusted by myself. I repeat my sins. I am whiny. I don't trust God. I am spiteful and short with my kids and husband. I make myself a martyr and then resent others for not noticing. I am jealous. I am lazy.
And I am still loved. I belong to the Father, and He knew what He was getting when He bought me. His love is everlasting and unconditional. When He looks at us He doesn't see lemons. He sees His children; His sick children clothed in the sacrifice of His perfect Son. He doesn't love me any more or less than He did yesterday because He loves me completely every day. And He loves you in the same way.
2. Quarantine might be a good way to keep a virus from spreading, but when it comes to sinfulness we are way too late. Quarantine isn't an effective lifestyle. We aren't to dabble in ungodly living, but the goal is not to lead lives where grace is unnecessary. The goal is to get out there and love our sick neighbors actively and completely. And if we sin in the process (which we will because we are sick too) there is grace for that. There is a reason that Jesus said when you visit the imprisoned, you are doing it to Him too. Quarantine works for disease control, but it was never meant to be a permanent way to live. God, reveal to me the people I have avoided...
3. We should be less concerned with "catching something" from others, and more about others "catching something" from us. Grumbling is contagious, but Grace can be too. If I am more aware of the Grace I am carrying in my body through the work of the Holy Spirit, I will be less worried about the potential sickness of sinfulness around me. The words of others may sting, but they won't cling. The baffling decisions people make to ruin their lives or the lives of others will move me to action and compassion instead of judgment and division.
And here may be the best one of all: God is looking forward to our healing even more than we are. A couple nights ago my daughter was feeling well enough (thank you Tylenol and smoothies) to dance. She donned her hot pink fedora and black cowboy boots and smiled for the first time in days. I nearly cried. It was a glimpse of my little girl coming back to me.