I’ve been unwell this week, rendered immobile by a nasty leg infection. (As I write this I’m sitting down with my leg propped up at 30 degrees!). So it’s been a rather frustrating week of inactivity interspersed with hospital visits.
Yet, from a Christian perspective, there are some redeeming features of enforced immobility due to minor illness or injury:
1) It forces us to rest. God himself rested after his work of creation, and in the Old Testament he set strict limits on what activities could be done by his people on their weekly Sabbath rest. In our modern interconnected 24/7 society, opportunities to rest are especially valuable, even when they are forced on us by ill health. Not only does rest restore us physically, it also helps us spiritually by forcing us to rely on God’s power and grace, not our own efforts and energies.
2) It gives us time to reflect. Another consequence of our fast-paced society is that we have few opportunities to pause, pray, and review the direction of our lives. In his book “Do nothing and change your life!” Stephen Cottrell (Bishop of Chelmsford) reminds us that we may need to stop what we are doing before we can clearly hear God speak to us and discern his future leading. Convalescence is one such opportunity.
3) It reminds us of our Christian hope. Even the most minor illness is a gentle reminder of our mortality. Bodily ailments remind us that our true and lasting home is on another shore. Our bodies here are fallible and finite, but in the world to come they will have the same splendour as Christ’s resurrection body.
A wonderful hope to treasure when illness or injury lays us low in this life.