Just got off the phone with a friend who's reading through Job, which I took a trip through a few weeks ago myself. Lots to unpack there, but for the moment I'm thinking about God's answer to Job's questions as to why Job's life has taken such bizarre and unexpected turns. The Kevin's Revised Slandered Version -- "I'm God." [I still recommend that you read it yourself before the big test.]
Some time ago I stumbled onto an abandoned forum on the internet that hadn't been posted to in at least a couple of years. The person running the whole shebang issued a challenge: Christians believe that there is a God and that he answers their prayers. In fact, God practically HAS to do what they ask him to do in prayer because the Bible says so. [I know, I know, but stay with me here.] So, let some Christian come forward to pray for the healing of a specific someone missing a limb -- praying that the limb would grow back. And it has to be a missing limb growing back, not healing from cancer or anything like that. It HAS to be the limb growing back. And if that doesn't happen, it just proves that the Bible and all this God-stuff is whack.
The sad thing about this challenge is that the one making it misses God working a miracle of a different kind -- the changing of the heart of the one-armed person, enabling them to endure the loss with grace, to grow in faith and character, and to emerge better for it and glorifying the Creator through it all -- so that others who have lost limbs might come to know their Creator better because of the example. His very demand that God "prove" himself according to this person's terms will keep him from being able to see what God is doing.
Job asks God, "Hey, what's up with all this bad stuff happening to me?"
God asks Job, "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? Who endowed the heart with wisdom?" (There's lots more, but you get the idea.)
Often we ask God for Yes, No, or Wait, but he answers Blue or History or Stapler. It's as though he's got a whole different agenda than we do. Oh wait, he does. So, as we all pray for Pat's healing, what Pat and I desire most of all is that our hearts be prepared for God's answer, not ours. Faith is trusting God does have an agenda, even though we can't see it.
Shout-outs to Shari, Betty, and to the many sending emails, cards, etc. And an especially big shout-out to the staff at CrossWorld, our sending agency, for their consistent encouragement and prayers.