Not long ago, a friend biblically pointed out the error with the statement, "Never pray for patience!" So, I took her up on it...and got a kidney infection. Was God tormenting me? Was He punishing me? Was He simply giving me the opportunity to grow in patience?
Honestly, I think I would have gotten that infection whether or not I had prayed for patience. But yes, I do think He was giving me a way to develop further patience (not that I had much to start with). That said, He didn't leave me high and dry to figure out this whole patience thing on my own. Instead, He lovingly provided the patience I needed to get through something so yucky. I really think He was answering my request for longsuffering, though in a way that took me by complete surprise.
When I woke Friday morning feeling as though I'd been steam-rolled by the million-pound Cab-Forward train from the Sacramento Train Museum, I knew the weekend wasn't going to go as planned. The fever, nausea, back pain, and every other unpleasant side effect were enough to do in anyone, and I was absolutely miserable. For some weird reason, I Thessalonians 5:18 popped into my head: "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
Really, Lord? I gotta give thanks for all of this? I whined as I shivered in pain. But then the most amazing thing happened. I started thinking of all the blessings that had transpired during the first few hours of my infirmity.
*First, this could have happened ON Thanksgiving instead of the day after.
*It could have happened on a day when Jon wasn't home to come to my rescue.
*It also could have been worse...honestly. I only had a low-grade fever and moderate back pain.
*It gave me a completely new appreciation for the man I married.
*It made me much more sympathetic to others who were ill around the same time (if patience isn't my strong point, I'm even worse when it comes to sympathy).
*It forced me to rest after being on my feet for two straight days.
*It caused me to greatly appreciate the previous 28 years that my kidneys have never once complained in such a fashion.
*It helped me to see how God was supplying the patience I needed to endure; it wasn't something I was doing of my own.
And there were other things to be thankful for, as well:
*An EMT friend happened to be online that evening and insisted I go to Urgent Care (otherwise, I probably would have suffered another night before realizing I had something more than just a stomach flu).
*I made it to Urgent Care within 30 minutes of its closing, after which I would have had to go to the ER.
*Urgent Care took me in right away, even before others who were there before me.
*The doctor was sweet, thorough, and efficient and took great care of me.
I don't think I'm necessarily thankful for the infection itself, but I have learned a lot through experiencing it. And for that, I truly can be thankful.
And in addition to praying for patience, I'll also pray that I never, ever get a kidney infection again.