23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
I’m having a very crazy week. I’ve had a bad sinus infection and have almost completely lost my voice. (This is quite a trial for a fellow who preaches and teaches for a living!) I started out by taking a refill of amoxicillin that I had, but after 5 days, I had not improved a bit. Susan said I needed to go to the doctor. I almost didn’t go because I thought I just might need a little more time. I’m glad I did because the nurse practitioner said I clearly had something that was resistant to penicillin.
So, I ended up getting two shots. One shot was Rocephin—my former country doctor used to say that this was the shot they gave people before they ended up in the hospital. The other shot was Decadron. For those of you who have never taken it, I’ll give you a preview. Decadron wakes you up at 3:00 A.M. and makes you feel like you could eat 2 grapes and then clean 10 closets. You don’t feel quite so ambitious later on in the day.I also got a bottle of Levaquin. That sounds like an anti-psychotic drug, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s a very potent antibiotic. It’s also a very expensive one. I felt a little worse after I wrote the check for it.
On top of that, we’re having standardized tests this week at my school. So, I haven’t had the luxury of staying home to rest my feverish head. Also, I am the test administrator. It’s my job to read the test directions. Out loud.
On the home front, Marvin, our 15-pound tomcat, has had some kind of weird bladder infection that makes him miss his litter box. Susan took him to the vet, and poor Marvin got treated to a rectal thermometer, a kitty-cat-catheter, and an antibiotic shot all in the same day. He also got a sack of cat chow formulated for middle-aged-tabbies-with-prostate-conditions. We have had to keep him confined in a hunting dog cage that we borrowed from a friend, which sits in the laundry room adjoining our kitchen. While imprisoned, Marvin meows—or should I say “yowls”—nonstop for hours at a time; delightful music when you’re recovering from an earache. Also, our other tabby, Sister, runs through the house and jumps in our laps, evidently wondering things like, “Why is my brother in a concentration camp?” and “Why don’t you make him shut up?” She isn’t a very compassionate cat. Sometimes she just looks through the bars and hisses at him.
Dear mothers, I suspect I’m not describing a week that’s foreign to you. I’ll bet you have a lot of times like this. And have you ever noticed that it’s not the crazy extra stuff that drags you down? It’s just the fact that the extra stuff is poured on top of all the regular normal things that you have to do each week. You deal with these things in addition to the real problems you see in your life and the lives of the folks around you.
How does one stay peaceful in the midst of all this? It’s good to remember the Scripture that we read last Christmas—the one about the virgin conceiving and giving birth to a Son. When He is born, they are going to call His name “Immanuel”—which means “God with us.” That isn’t just a children’s story. It’s the gospel truth. And here’s the most wonderful part. Jesus isn’t waiting to help you in the “perfect life” you hope to have later. He is with you in the life that you’re living right now. This is the promise of God. So write it on a 3 by 5 card and post it somewhere: “THIS IS THE LIFE THAT GOD IS WORKING IN !”
Whatever our circumstances this week, let’s turn our eyes to Jesus, the one who is named Immanuel.You know, in the life we are presently living, He is “God with us.”
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 19) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where we know that Marvin the cat is better because he has the strength to complain about his new cat food.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.