It started with a twinge of a sore throat, then I started to feel a little achy and then it had developed into a full-blown head, nose and throat cold. What is it you’re supposed to do…feed a cold, starve a fever or starve a cold, feed a fever? I was too sick to care.
I told someone that it would be a miracle if I didn’t get sick after teaching the junior highs last week. It seemed no matter how much hand sanitizer I used, the germs would not be held at bay. Sitting in front of me was a young man who sniffled and sneezed and coughed in my direction through most of the class. I looked into his bloodshot eyes and felt such pity for him. He should have been home in bed but he was “toughing it out”. Words I remember saying to my own son whenever he had complained of a head cold. “You can’t miss too much school.” I told him. “Just tough it out!” I regret saying it to Brett now…perhaps it was he who coughed his mucus-seeking missiles in a teacher’s direction one day and that teacher suffered then as I was suffering now. Certainly students don’t purposefully set out to sneeze all over their unsuspecting teachers or classmates, but once launched, the germs are given their marching orders to seek out the most vulnerable in the room. Lucky me.
It would be so easy if there was some kind of invisible “battle armor” we could wear that repels cold germs. Something like shark repellent maybe…although I suppose if a shark wanted to bite you, spraying him in the face would probably just make him madder and the consequences would be the same. It’s like that joke about Grizzly Bears in Alberta…hikers are warned to make lots of noise in the back country and carry “bear bells” to “scare” bears away. The theory is that bears would rather not cross paths with noisy, bell-carrying hikers. The joke is: what do you usually find in bear scat (droppings)?…Answer: berries and bells. Get it?
So the same sort of idea holds true when it comes to warding off colds. I was constantly telling my kids when they were in school to take precautions to prevent getting sick like: take your vitamins, don’t go outside without a coat on, get plenty of rest, eat right…and I followed (still follow) my own advice TO THE LETTER.
The sad truth is that even with my taking the best precautions…a persistent cold germ still managed to get through.
I know there is a point to my telling my children over and over again to take care of themselves so they don’t get sick, but truly logic fails me when after all MY precautions, following MY own advice, here I am sick with a cold. It’s unfair.
The thing about colds is that it attacks regardless of how prepared or unprepared one is. So does Satan.
We’ve been studying the “armor of God” in class (Ephesians 6:13 -18 ). “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
The idea here is that we, as Christians, are under constant attack by the worldly enemy – Satan. Like a cold, sometimes he sneaks up on us and catches us unaware and we cry “unfair”, and unless we have been equipped to fight him we will be totally unprepared for the onslaught to come. Still there are times we are aware of a battle in front of us and we make every effort to guard against the barrage thrown at us. We need to be in battle armor all the time. The trouble always arises when we are totally unprepared. Then we know we’re in trouble!
So as I sniffle and sneeze my way through another bout of the common cold, I’m reminded that I’ve got an arsenal of cold remedies in my hands (if I use them), and I’ve got people who can bring me chicken soup literally for the soul! The same is true when I feel the attacks of Satan. I’ve got battle armor to wear, and I have people who will rally with me in prayer so together we can overcome the enemy.
“AaaaaChoooo!” I wrap my blankie around me tightly. I cling to it like it’s battle armor for my cold.
“Bless you!” says the Father.
I purposefully adjust the helmet of Salvation that’s tilted at an angle on my head and listen.
“My (child), do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Psalm 3:1-8
I feel that invisible weight of armor covering my body and tightly clutch the Sword (my Bible) on my lap praying as I do that I will be prepared for the next attack.