Monday, June 17, 2013

Call to Worship: When All Thy Mercies

Have you ever noticed how good you feel when you recover from an illness?  Do our bodies actually have better health right after being sick than before we were sick, or is it just that we finally notice and appreciate the health we had before?  

That reminds me of a verse from Joseph Addison's hymn (take time to read all the verses): 
When worn with sickness, oft hast Thou
With health renewed my face;
And, when in sins and sorrows sunk,
Revived my soul with grace.

You can sing along with this video:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mercy for Job (and Dad)

If you were trying to select two attributes of God we learn from the story of Job, which two would you pick?  We don't have to guess, because the book of James actually tells us.
We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. (James 5:11, NASB)

At first glance, it's hard to see God's mercy and compassion in book the book of Job.  God starts out by allowing Satan to sadistically snatch Job's children, wealth, and health.  Then after endless arguments and accusations from three "friends", God shows up, only to grill Job with seventy questions.  Really, God, this is mercy?

Actually... yes!  

And I'm not just talking about the restoration of his health, the gift of another 10 children, and the doubling of his previous wealth, as nice as those things are.  Or, even God's honoring Job before his "friends" by calling him "my servant Job" four times.  Perhaps God's greatest mercy to Job was simply in getting to "see" God.  Job came out of this experience with a greater relationship with God.
I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You (Job 42:5 NASB)

We got to "see" a little more of God last night when I wound up taking Dad to the emergency room at 10 PM.  Everything turned out OK and both of us got home around 3 AM this morning.  (Yes, I set another personal record for 'latest time going to bed in my life'.  Even the McGuireville Tavern was already closed when we drove by.)  But the medical staff at Verde Valley Medical Center were very kind and professional.  Despite the long wait, we were thankful for the mercies of a good treatment, a good outcome, and a good friend who came and spent several hours with us there. Despite all the unpleasantness that brought us to the Emergency Room, it was worth it simply to experience the goodness of God.

This week has had its share of poignancy.  Two memories from my early childhood have been repeated in reverse this week.  I remember Dad staying up through the early hours of the morning to put wet towels on my body to bring down a bad fever.  And I remember Dad taking me to the ER for a problem that seemed serious but turned out not to be.  (There was a long waiting line in the ER even then.  It seems they still haven't caught up!)  So it's very appropriate to experience all this as I prepare to celebrate Father's Day this Sunday.

Right now, Dad is doing much better.  The fever seems to be diminishing and he is feeling more like his old self.  Thanks for the many friends who have encouraged and prayed for us.  You are another mercy from our Father.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Tuesday night was a long one.  I don't think I've ever stayed up until 1:30 AM before.  Dad's low-grade fever (which we thought he had under control) had suddenly shot up.  In a matter of hours he went from (seemingly) barely sick to barely able to speak or move.  Mom and I were on the verge of calling an ambulance, but the Lord turned the situation around through aspirin and hydrotherapy.

I learned how strong God can make us.  It seemed so odd for me and Mom to be the strong ones; normally it is Dad.  I learned that I can focus and hold together in the middle of a medical crisis.  I learned that I can get by on far less sleep than I knew (a lesson most mothers learn early).  I have fewer things to fear now, having experienced God's provision in the middle of a storm.

I also learned how frail we are as humans.  I have never seen Dad this sick before.  It came on so suddenly and unexpectedly that he didn't realize how sick he was until we told him about it afterwards.  If he had been alone, he probably would not have lived through it.  The seeming strength we have as humans is all due to God's sustaining hand, and it doesn't take Him long to prove it.

27 They all wait for You
To give them their food in due season.
28 You give to them, they gather it up;
You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.
29 You hide Your face, they are dismayed;
You take away their spirit, they expire
And return to their dust.
30 You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the ground. (from Psalm 104, NASB)

Dad received medical attention today.  It seems he has a bad UTI (perhaps picked up e coli in India?), and is now taking Cipro.  Thank you all for your prayers!