And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:2-3
Last Saturday, Adon came down with a fever. Whenever one of the babies are sick, it is difficult to tell whether this is just something a baby will get, or if this is something which will soon become the next family epidemic. Then Sunday and Monday I had a bad headache, and thought I must be the next one to fall ill. Then Noah’s version was a stomach bug. Then Micah, then Sam. So, by Wednesday night, Sam and Noah had to stay home from our church’s Wednesday night activities. They still are not eating to their capacity. It wasn’t all that bad, certainly not as bad as we had in December. That time it was buckets for everyone, with Luke and I up multiple times a night at the sound of someone getting sick. Funny how grateful one can be during an illness that at least it isn’t worse.
Luke called me after he had gotten a call from his mom, Carol, yesterday: his uncle had a heart attack and was headed to the hospital. This man is in his seventies and we don’t know him very well. I reflected that day on how differently we respond to news like that, depending on a number of factors. I remember when I got a call from Luke another time, in November of 2005. He said that Carol had called him and that there was something wrong with his dad. “I think he’s dead,” Luke said to me. When I hung up with Luke I dropped to my knees by our couch and begged God not to let that be true, to heal whatever the problem was, to let Don stay with us. That was not to be the case, as we were forced to say goodbye to someone startlingly fast and grievously early. After this call from Luke about his uncle, however, I thought about how this situation held nothing near the urgency his father’s death had. Why? Maybe because Uncle Gary is older, maybe because we aren’t as close. But I think there is another reason. The last couple of years I have learned a little more about prayer, and how it needs to be all about God’s will, not ours. Someone is sick; this disturbs me. But does it disturb God? No, and He has a really good reason for it, whether He chooses to heal the person or not. So, I think my petitions have changed over the years to being more the right way to pray about people and their illnesses. I can see progress by looking back at my response when Don died- it may not have been wrong to ask for a miracle like I did, but I know I was praying with my wants in mind right then, not God’s will. I haven’t since been as challenged in the loss of any more loved ones, so it remains to be seen if I really have improved, in the heat of the moment.
A gal whose blog I read shared some similar thoughts about an aging person who was ill in this post. I was relieved to see that I am not the only one who has certain opinions on this subject.