This week has presented less than desirable circumstances as I've been stricken with an infection on an abscess that developed over the weekend. To say it has produced discomfort would put it mildly and its actually kept me out of my office and mostly off my feet all week. Antibiotics and painkillers are helping. Thankfully though my wife is ever present to take care of me. If left to myself I'd have used my unsanitized knife to try and fix the problem (only making it worse). Blair knows me so well that was the first thing she said I could not do.
Now on one hand these circumstances have presented a lot of temptations to complain, be selfish, and be lazy. Honestly, I'm certain I've been guilty of all three at times during the week but the Lord has used this temporary condition to provide me three great gifts. First, I've got a number of my congregation who experience discomfort and pain every time they do anything and this has helped me to better empathize. Last night I made my one outing outside the house to fulfill my Wednesday night teaching assignment. It was a blessing to teach but a chore to get in and out of the car, walk to the room, and stand (sitting is worse) in the classroom. Yet every Sunday members of my flock endure similar struggle to worship the Lord with their congregation. Hopefully this will make me more pastorally sensitive to them.
Second, this has allowed me some focused time of prayer and study. I've spent a lot of time soaking my wound in a hot bath or laying face down on the bed. There's not much else to do but read, pray, or listen to preaching on my iPod. That has been a real blessing. Third, and most treasured has been the undistracted time I've had with my wife and son. I heard my son say "Da-da" (after he said "Foster" of course... the dog's name), we've played as much as I physically could and beyond what I should, and we've taken naps together which is the best. It has really been a treasured time to talk to my wife and catch-up after the week she was gone. These are things we can easily take for granted or rush past for "more important things" (that are not). So through pain the Lord has seen fit to bless me abundantly... what a great God we have!