Sickness and health

Dear Friends: 

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."   Jesus, the Gospel of Matthew

Today and last night I was sick. I never get sick, but I came here (France) stressed, stretched and a bit weary—-before the real work even began.

There blessings to my maladies:  I am alone (I don’t like being fussed over when I am sick—-just leave me alone, thank you), and I had the morning today and tomorrow morning to recuperate.  Praise God I did not get this cold (?) on the plane, or when I had a full day of meetings, etc.  But I have slept and slept and I am still tired!  I think I probably have a low threshold for pain and sickness and so God has given me precious few days that I have ever missed work.

But for me, at least, when I run a fever (as I am right now) I simply do not function very well. I am absent-minded, easily confused and wobbly.  Oh how I hate to be like this!  But I thought today about what I did that led to this cold.  Was it not sleeping enough….skipping meals…..letting the stress of our ministry/business get me down?

I am not sure if it was one or ALL of those things. But I do know this: It’s a fight to live and grow no matter who you are, but if you are determined to work for the Kingdom of God, the fight is even more intense.  There’s no time to be careless or stupid with your health if you’re doing work for the Kingdom of God—and each one of us that bear the name “Christian” are supposed to be involved with the work—and the fight.

If my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit I am obligated  to take care of it and maintain it for work. I am no longer my own, but a servant of Jesus Christ, with an obligation to take care of myself.   A captain in the US Army once told me that he had two private placed in the military jail for a weekend after they got a severe sunburn at the beach. Their crime was “harming US Army property by allowing themselves to get burned!

How many times have I harmed “Kingdom of God” property by not watching what I eat, drink, watch on TV, etc?   Yes, I will get sick from time to time, and eventually some small virus or bug will cost me my life—I have long had the premonition.  But I can still have peace—-even on days like today where my whole body is aching—because He has overcome the world.  And with that victory I can have peace—-He is in control—even in my weakness, my sickness and my confusion. Nothing that is going to happen to me has caught God by surprise. The great Physician is able to keep me right where He wants me—regardless of my opinion.


Please do pray for me though. The most important days here are yet to come.


Dean Barley


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