I hate shots. I put needles in the same category as Teletubbies, clowns, and the Burger King guy. Pure evil. Cause for simultaneous fleeing and screaming. With the possibility of changing zip codes. I will, however, succumb to the torture and get a shot when sickness is involved. Not just sniffle-and-chill sickness. I’m talkin’ head-in-a-vice, put-me-in-an-ice-bath sickness. When it’s that bad, I don’t care about shots or Teletubbies. I just want to feel better. The last time I incurred the wrath of the syringe, I had an über bad case of bronchitis. The needle was the length of a yardstick and plunged through my tuckus and came out clear on the other side. OK. Not really. But that’s what I kept imagining. I honestly didn’t feel it. I’m pretty sure the nurse was wearing a cape. Either that, or my bronchial delirium was messing with me. The doctor, who seriously looked like a white-haired William Shatner, prescribed meds, rest, and lots of liquid. Within 24 hours, I was breathing out of both nostrils and shedding my quilt cocoon. Sometimes it takes physical illness to appreciate good health.
I remember getting booster shots as a kid. Since playgrounds were veritable petri dishes of pure-dee yuck, the immunity elixirs were probably a good idea. A weak immune system makes you more susceptible to the pure-dee yucks of this world. And there are some yucks I just don’t want.
It’s no different with spiritual immunity. A man, who was a leader in a small home-church I no longer attend, once told my grandmother that when it comes to my spiritual life, I am like a fishing bobber, going way down deep for a spell and then popping back up when I’ve lost my footing. Yes, his comments hurt. Yes, I wanted to yank out his eyebrows one by one. In all of his (un)intended cruelty, he was right. My life has had moments of deep, meaningful spiritual health followed by shallow, surface-skimming weakness. But see, I don’t want to be that person anymore. I don’t want to doggy-paddle my way through life. I don’t want to get caught up in the driftwood.
I have discovered that just as I need a doctor when I’m physically sick, I need one when my spiritual immunity is weak. But not the kind with a stethoscope and bad penmanship. I need THE Doctor, the One whose wounds healed me. His orders? First, I need to rest, and not just on Sunday, but I need to rest in Him. “My soul finds rest in God” (Psalm 62:1) for “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29). God tells us in Jeremiah 6 that to find rest for our souls, we should “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it.” His second prescription is to drink plenty of fluids, for Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37), for “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again” (John 4:14). I have certainly been tired and thirsty. I think it’s time I followed Doctor’s orders.