A few weeks ago, I was very sick for a week. I chalked it up to it being a very bad case of the flu. When we think of being sick, typically we are describing the symptoms. But actually, we are describing how the human body is responding to a metabolic infection, doing what it does to defend itself.

I had a fever. Awesome! Why is that awesome? God created the human body in such a way that it will heat itself up in order to destroy the infection and heal itself. A virus that thrives at 98.6 degrees dies at 102 degrees.

I was very achy. Awesome! Why? The human brain, as the control center, will shut down other systems in order to boost the immune system. Basically, it’s an “all hands on deck” call to the anti-bodies necessary to counteract the infection that otherwise would destroy the operating systems of the body.

I was very tired. Why? By God’s design, that same system does a harsh shutdown, forcing the stubborn homesteader to rest. I slept a lot. The metabolic immune system needed everything I had to combat whatever it was that had attacked my system. (But I still did my chores.)

I was “sick,” meaning my body was doing what it is designed to do. But remember, God magnificently designed the human body to heal itself, and God designed the fuel to make it so. So many suffer from disease and distress, from sickness and sadness, mainly due to our addictions to the things that corrupt the design.

Friends, if you detoxed from sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and processed food for four weeks, I promise, you will feel better. You will be more in tune with what your body needs and what it doesn’t. That fresh tomato will be sweeter. And that doughnut will send an alarm through your system, telling you, “Don’t do that!”

In the game of football, the fourth quarter is the place where the preparation shows up. The effectiveness of the defense and the offense began in pre-season workouts. Most people see the amazing plays, and the combination of strength and ability without consideration for the hard work and careful preparation that happened six months earlier. And don’t me started on the careful and disciplined diet and exercise regimen and lifestyle of an athlete who is at the very top of the game at age 43.

Preparation. Discipline. Eat nutrient-dense food. Grow some or grow a lot. Exercise. Get outside, even in the cold. Do hard work. Sweat. And don’t tell me you can’t. You can do something.

As a homesteader, we tend to be frugal scroungers. I heard a story from a fellow homesteader. The local landfill where he lived had a separate space for things that might be reusable. This is a homesteader’s dream. That old dresser can be a nesting box for rabbits.

He saw a truck pull up, and a man who had everything from his ribcage down amputated got out of the truck, walking on his hands. He went to the pile, picked out a few things, dragged them to his truck, climbed back in and drove away. My fellow homesteader was overwhelmed with thought, “If he can do what he needs to do, then I can do what I need to do.”

Trials and tribulations, pain and plagues, this is what we face in a fallen world. We should not be surprised. 1 Peter 4:12 tells us, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (ESV).

Now, Peter was preparing his readers for the coming persecution. We should not be surprised by the difficulties we will experience, living in a fallen and broken world. Expect it. And be prepared.

I learned there were people who were discouraged when they heard I got sick. Their mindset was this: The homesteading life that my family and I live should keep us from getting sick. For the most part, that is true. I am convinced if our family doctor saw me on the street, she would not recognize me. It’s not about never getting sick. It’s about making every effort to have optimal health so that, no matter who we are, we are prepared, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

My wife says, “It’s not about being skinny and looking good. It’s about being strong and living well.”

On Saturday, Feb. 20, from 2 to 6 p.m. my friend John Moody (homesteader, writer, farmer, rogue food rebel) and I will be hosting the “You Can Do It!” Homesteading Mini-Conference. For more info, contact me at homesteadingpastor@gmail.com. Let us together get healthy and strong, ready for whatever lies ahead.

To God be the glory!