A few short days ago my little daughter Shiloh was running a temperature that was nearly 103. She had a cough, and was just hurting all over. I held her in my arms and for the time in my life I felt something and said something so enormous and so profound, that I surprised myself. I don't know why I was surprised when God chose to honor my request.
As I held my frail, sick daughter I said a simple prayer to the Lord, "Father, if you would just take her sickness and give it to me. If you'd just remove her symptoms and place it on me. I just want her to feel better." Now, at the time, I was sincere...I meant every word I said...it was the pulse of my heart for my sweet little girl to get well. And I remember sort of marveling at how I could come to a place of selflessness for another person, specifically as it related to pain and health and such. However, my belief and understanding of what God would do was this--that He would be proud of my selfless prayer, heal my daughter, and that would be that. I did not anticipate Him making good on my words.
I got her sickness. I got her fever. I got her cough. I got even worse drainage and swelling of my glands and throat. And did I mention I was swabbed for strep throat and missed days from work? Now, understand that being a children's minister now will put me in more direct contact with kids and their germs, but I'm thinking my illness might have been linked to those sweet, innocent, and powerful words I prayed with my daughter in my arms. Be careful when you pray and ask God for things--whether they're for you or someone else. He is listening, and delighted to grant our requests, in His own special way.
Also, be careful when you choose to read the Bible in 90 days. You're in for an adventure in discovery, discipline, and the divine. I highly encourage any believer who feels they're up for a challenge in their walk with Christ to experience this.
If you're looking for some incredible new music, be careful with Vampire Weekend. Those of you who know me recognize my musical tastes lie somewhere between classic rock and praise/worship music. This is neither of those, but boy howdy, is it something. Sort of a what a modernized '50s swing band would be, and the songs aren't even that long either. They always leave me wanting more. (warning: 2 songs do contain an offensive word, but pay particular attention to "Punk" and "Boston.")
Be careful if you choose to read The Shack. It is not something for the close-minded, the stubborn, or the judgemental. Wait a minute, maybe that's exactly who it's for. Proceed with caution, but be prepared to be encouraged in your relationship with Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu.