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A Faith Lesson from a Common Cold

I hate colds, but my mom didn’t. She would say that she was not suffering anything that Jesus didn’t suffer. I think she was on to something.

Guideposts Editor-in-Chief Edward Grinnan

Excuse me for being late—and brief—with this blog, but I have been fighting off a cold.

Call me a wimp, but I hate colds. I’d rather be flat on my back with something seriously debilitating that the nagging annoyance of a bad cold when you are sick enough to feel miserable but not quite so completely miserable that you can justify burrowing under the covers for a few days and doing nothing.

And this cold definitely needs to be banished because in a few days I take off for Istanbul to commence our 2011 Travel With Spirit Holy Lands Tour, which will take me, Maggie Peale Everett and about 125 Guideposts readers to Turkey, Greece and Israel to visit some of the holiest sites in Christendom (did you know that Turkey has the most?), along with some great restaurants and shops, plus a couple of days just cruising the Mediterranean. All of which will be totally ruined if this cold is still bedeviling me.

Clearly I don’t take after my mom in this regard. She usually refused to admit she was even sick. Fever of 102? You can’t trust those thermometers. That hacking cough? Just a piece of pretzel caught in her throat. Her main remedy for illness was to get down on her knees and scour the kitchen floor. I’m serious. The flu? No better time to shovel the driveway.

What she loved to say was that she was not suffering anything that Jesus himself didn’t suffer in his daily life in human form. He got colds, she used to say, sore throats and stiff joints and aching muscles. And if Jesus put up with it, why shouldn’t she?

My mom’s theology always gave me a smile but I also think she was on to something. Certainly Christ suffered the same, routine physical infirmities that all of us do. Being human as well as God, he must have had his share of toothaches and migraines, right? He became one of us to show his ultimate love for us, and understanding that he too suffered these common human ails makes my own minuscule suffering with a common cold a little easier to bear.

I only wonder if it was all right to say “God bless you!” when Jesus sneezed.

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