Last Thursday I got a call from the school: "Mr. Mayfield? Yes, this is the nurse at Columbia Elementary School. I have Nathan in here and he's just thrown up." LOVE IT! Actually, I was mortified. I quickly remembered the isolation you feel when you're the one who's spewed your lunch on the classroom floor. And the horror of having vomit covering your shirt and jeans. And the janitor sprinkling that disgusting powder on your vomit, as if to mark it with a sign that says, "Look at Nathan's vomit everyone!" It's quite awful - maybe the feelings more than the vomit. (Or maybe not.) I went up to the school, loved on my son, collected his stuff and brought him home. And it didn't take long to figure out that this wasn't just lunch disagreeing with him. It was the virus.
Morgan took care of Nathan all day Friday. The poor kid must have thrown up 15 times. So this doesn't make it the slightest bit surprising that on Friday night at 9:00, my wife was running for the toilet. And let me say on behalf of the love of my life - this was NOT pretty!
From the moment I brought Nathan home on Thursday I was popping the immuno-boosters. I washed my hands so many times that I thought the skin was going to flake off. I was bound, determined, and convinced, "I am NOT going to catch this virus!" And even though I was a mountain of confidence, I decided on Saturday afternoon that I probably should call Josh and give him a heads up that he "might want to be ready to preach in the morning". I was sure that I wouldn't have to call him. I felt fine. Great, even! I was going to make it unscathed. I even slept on the sofa to avoid the germs emanating off of my wife's virus-ridden body. I curled up in my blanket and dozed off...believing that I had conquered the beast. And then....I woke up.
My alarm went off at 6:00. The instant I stood up a rush came over my body. This was what I felt last February when the food poisoning hit and my poor friend Jeff thought I was going to die right there in his car. (Another story worth telling sometime.) Sweat started evacuating out of every pore of my body. I took off running and dove onto the bed right before I was about to hit the floor. And there I lied. As if this little troll of a virus was standing on my back, one hand on his hip and the other holding his spear, saying, "I have hunted you down little man. And now I will consume you!" All that praying and wishful thinking and sanitizing...and here I am like a limp trout that's been pulled out of the water. I was mad. VERY mad! Not that I was sick, or that I'd been defeated by some invisible germ. But because I had a message prepared. I was so ready to deliver this sermon that the Lord had placed on my heart. I didn't want to miss being with my church family. This was NOT in my plan!
But God had another plan. God had something to say and didn't want me to say it. He had put a message in Josh's heart that someone needed to hear. And here's the proof. On the back of a card we received after yesterday's 10:45 service, it reads: "I think it's great that God brought me here today to hear about brokenness and that I can get through anything He walks me through!" Quite frankly, while I'm still excited to preach the message I had prepared, that wasn't it. This girl needed to hear something very specific from God and He knew how it needed to be communicated. And quite possibly He had to knock me on my butt to get me out of the way so that someone else could say it. He'll do that, you know. And He also needed to remind me (as He does every once-in-awhile) that I am not in control. I am NOT the King. The world does not revolve around me. And that sometimes the prayers of the just-recently-humbled can be more powerful than a sermon. And this I know: When God makes me sick, it is ALWAYS because He has something to say.
It's quite interesting to me that this "virus" only affected me for about 6 hours or so. Just long enough to keep me on my back, at home in my bed, with nothing else to do but PRAY that God would be moving in the hearts and lives of the people at my church. Praying that He would anoint Josh's words and thoughts, and use them to speak right into the hearts of those who needed to hear from Him.
If the Lord needs to move you out of the way, are you willing to be moved?
Are you allowing yourself to be irreplaceable? What happens if you're removed from the equation? Will it all fall apart?