So many of the people I pray for have health issues. As a retired physician, I find myself unconsciously analyzing people’s prognoses based on what I know about their health issues. I find myself thinking, “Wow! That cancer is stage 3 or 4. That’s going to take a real miracle from you Lord, for her to be healed.” Or, “He’ll get better. We can treat that now.” I catch myself prioritizing which people to pray for miracles for.
The U S Department of Labor has written in reference to Labor Day, “The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, the American worker.”
Ouch! That bothers me. Yes, workers, as opposed to slouchers, have helped build a great nation, but let’s rather pay tribute to God, the Creator of all things, the One to whom all tribute is due. After all, God even invented work. In Genesis 1 and 2 the Bible tells of God’s work of creation, that it was good, and that God rested when He was done. God told His people that they, likewise, should rest from their work, one day out of every seven (Exodus 20:8ff).
I recently had the privilege of listening to a series of lessons on the Israelites: From the Exodus to the Promised Land. The teachings highlighted how God delivered his chosen people from slavery in Egypt, led them through the wilderness to the Promised Land, and then His dealings with them as they wandered in the wilderness another 40 years for their lack of faith. (I remember reading these stories when I was a kid and marveling that these Children of Israel never seemed to learn from their mistakes and how they kept repeating them; and how they complained!) The teacher of the series commented on their ingratitude and posed the thought, “I wonder how that made God feel?” Then he challenged us to consider how WE make God feel in our lives, and how we can be just as ungrateful as the Israelites were in the desert.
As last year was ending and a new year approaching, I, like many, did my own little “year in review.” 2017 seemed to have its share of downers. Among them, my mother fell and broke her hip, and subsequently died. After finally persuading my husband to take a vacation (it had been several years since our last one), our trip south in September was cancelled by a hurricane (one of several that affected our country). There were earthquakes and wild fires in our country and terrorist attacks all over the world. I personally was sick with bronchitis for over six weeks. That was followed by a shingles outbreak that lasted 4 months. In December my husband spent 8 days in court being defended in a law suit. I could easily have felt sorry for us, and the world in general.
Having worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist in my past, I marveled at every birth. To think this new creature, so sophisticated and complex, could arise from two very simple cells that came together and started differentiating into a marvelous being just boggles my mind. I’m sorry, but I just don’t have enough faith in happenstance to believe this could occur purely by chance.
When I was a teen, my mother was my best friend. Mom was a stay-at-home mother, as were most mothers in those days. I would come home from school and she was always there to greet me. After working on my homework, I would sit by the stove while she prepared dinner (in those days, moms did that too). We would chat. I could tell her about almost anything and she usually had some wise advice. I clearly remember telling her about some boy I had a crush on, who didn’t know I existed. Her advice? “Marilyn, boys are like street cars. If you miss one, another one will come along.” I can’t remember who the boy was, but I do remember Mom’s wise counsel.