It was April, 1953. I was ten year old. In a few weeks I would celebrate my eleventh birthday traveling by train from Chicago to Los Angeles to spend the summer with my cousin. Those three months, plus a three day/two night train trip by myself held great expectations. I would join my cousin’s Boy Scout troop and actually camp in the mountains.
Coming from Illinois, I had no idea what a mountain even looked like!
On this day my dad and I were standing in a hall near a window on the third floor of Children’s Memorial Hospital. My pre-Scout physical had revealed a serious heart murmur. I was more concerned about it affecting my trip than the rest of my life. Four doctors had examined me and all agreed. The murmur was serious enough to curtail much of a ten year olds normal life style.
As we stood looking out the window, my dad put his arm around my shoulder and asked God to heal me.
And God did.
It was confirmed over the next couple of hours as the head cardiologist (called in to determine medical options) and the initial four doctors who had found the murmur decided that somehow the disorder was no longer there.
Now, fast forward 55 years. My oldest son, and ten weeks later my wife, were both diagnosed with murmurs caused by malfunctioning valves. Both needed open-heart surgery to repair.
Wait … did we neglect to pray? No way! We prayed and were joined by many friends and family, yet surgery was necessary.
Is this conundrum sufficient to jettison faith? Should my confidence in God come to a screeching halt? Should I be looking elsewhere for an anchor in life?
Absolutely not. In walking with God for over six decades, I have settled permanently on several core beliefs.
First, God is always good whether I get all I ask for or not. I didn’t run away from home because I didn’t get everything I wanted. I knew my folks loved me and had my best interest at heart, even if they occasionally made parental mistakes. (God doesn’t, by the way!)
Second, God can always work all things for my good. (Romans 8:28) That includes unanswered prayer, fickle friends, misunderstood actions, mistakes made and even illnesses that result in death. And I understand this principle because of point number three.
God is getting me ready for an unthinkable future. And almost all of it is on the other side of the door we call ‘death.’ So this week I will not fret if I don’t get what I want, or have the answer to every question. God does and that’s all the assurance I need.
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.”
Proverbs 3:5 The Message
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