Friday, January 31, 2014

Prayer and the Flu

We are in the throes of winter, which often means at least one bout with sick children. Or a sick mom. 

But hopefully not both. 

But Emeline shares in her guest post how God met her, even when sick.

 Prayer and the Flu
By Emeline Lehman

I didn’t ask God to send us the flu.

No, it wasn’t what I had in mind at all. I had prayed for something, yes, but I wanted something easy. I sensed an independent, I’m-doing-pretty-good-all-by-myself attitude in my heart. It bothered me. I wanted to lean hard on God, to feel my need of Him and His sufficiency in my life.

So I had prayed. Please, God, send into my life whatever it takes to draw me closer to You. A worried feeling crept over me. But please, please, God, I don’t want anything too hard.

A few days passed, and I forgot about my prayer. 

An ache stole into my bones. Weariness claimed me. My baby slept, my girls played, and I napped. I woke with a temperature of 102 degrees. I groaned when I tried to sit up. Not only did my head hurt, it whirled. I crept along hanging onto the wall as I headed to the kitchen for a drink.

I found my way back to the couch and assessed the damage. Never in my married days had I felt so awful. Carlos was six weeks old, Heather was three years, and Kelsey was five. They all needed my care. I also had a feverish, aching body, and a head so large and heavy that I couldn’t carry it, let alone my baby. I admit that my brain was operating under the influence of a fever, but a brilliant thought came to me. Call Mom. Maybe she could come and help.

I did. She could. 

So I gave myself over to being sick in earnest. It wasn’t easy.

When Mom brought Carlos for a feeding, I propped myself up. I had another brilliant thought.

“Maybe,” I said, “I got sick first so that I can sympathize when everyone else gets sick. But they had better wait till I’m better.

They didn’t.

Heather greeted the next morning with a fever. I did too. We moaned together. Carlos was his normal self, which means he needed plenty of care. Heather was her sick self, which means she also needed plenty of care. Kelsey was healthy and she occupied herself by wishing to be sick. 

The day passed and so did the night. The sun rose again. Heather and I still had fever, and Carlos didn’t seem quite right. Sure enough, he got up from his nap with a fever. Now I was alarmed. Babies as young as he was weren’t allowed to be sick at my house. He lay in my arms and made soft grunting, moaning noises. I knew exactly how he felt. In fact, I could have joined him.

Carlos kept groaning; Heather’s temperature soared to 104, and she wilted before my eyes. I was shaky and feverish, and not sure who needed my worry the most.

That night Carlos’s fever came down, and Kelsey got sick. Finally, she got what she wanted. It was not what she expected. 

I had three very sick children on my hands. Something about this flu seemed particularly nasty. 

The children’s fevers didn’t respond to medication, and they acted just as horrible as I felt.

My husband helped when he could, but even when he was home, we had more sick children then we had laps.

I started feeling depressed. I wanted to cry. I desperately wanted to do something besides care for sick children, and more than that, I wanted to feel well myself.
I was sitting on the big green rocking chair, Heather and Carlos on my lap, and Kelsey across from me in the glider rocker, when I had my third brilliant thought for the week. (Three brilliant thoughts in a week is nothing to sneeze at.) 

I prayed for this.

I confess my next thought was not, Oh, thank you, thank you, God for answering my prayer!

 Instead, But God, I did ask that it wouldn’t be too hard!

At that time, my brain was sleep-deprived and fever-fried. But my children all eventually got well and I did too. Since then, I have had some more thoughts about prayer and the flu. I know God does not send nasty things into my life because He wants to torment me. God loves me, and He seeks my good and His glory. I will continue to ask Him to draw me to Him, and I will trust Him to send what I need. It may be the flu, it may be something else. The important thing is for me to trust His goodness and His power. 

He will never let me down.

Emeline has been married almost nine years to Levern and has three children. She lives on a dairy farm in southern Pennsylvania. Emeline loves tea parties, used book shopping, good laughs, warm sharing with friends, quality time with her husband, and bedtime cuddles with her children.  She is amazed that although she heard about God and the Bible since she was born, she still has so much to learn! You can contact her at levern @


  1. Ah... I'm familiar with this prayer.

  2. So true! I will confess that I've prayed the same prayer... Including the caveat that please let it not be something TOO bad... Thank you for the encouragement!


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