Do you remember trips to the doctor or dentist when you were little? You would get a shot or go through your teeth-cleaning, and after you endured the appointment, the nurse or hygienist would offer you a treat. Maybe a sucker, or some small toy – a memento to make the discomfort worthwhile.
I sometimes expect God to be my dentist. I understand I will have trouble in this life (John 16:33), but I would appreciate a rummage in the toy box once the storms have passed. Times of hardship with no prize at the end? Give me a Slinky at least for my trouble, Father, please.
I’ve had health issues for the last six months; recent medication is healing the problem, but it’s also causing this troubling side effect where my left ankle seems to be losing strength and mobility. On the plus side, I might finally be able to start those upright bass classes and hone my wall stapling skills.
Why am I announcing my medical history to an audience of strangers? Only to say this: During this time, God has not been who I expected Him to be. I have prayed for miraculous healing; I have prayed my healing would not take the direction it has; I’ve prayed to be immune from worrying side effects. At the end of all these ropes, the feeble hope I had left was God would let me pick out a nice toy when I got better. Some kind of unexpected, mind-blowing blessing to make up for the rough patch.
It happened for Job, right? He went through the worst of the worst, but on the other side he was given more than before, and he was blessed with new children. Couldn’t I have something similar? A little Prosperity Gospel ushered my way?
A friend of mine once gave a rebuttal to that argument: “Do you think Job’s new children removed the grief he experienced over the ones who died?” The answer, I assume, is no. Our times of suffering are never suddenly made “all better” by a consolation prize. No, that’s not the point. Our Father is certainly good to His children and can bless beyond measure, but the hard times are never about the carrot we hope is dangling for us at the end.
The point is this: God is always faithful. His character is true. I may not have received my miracle; I may not get my chance in the toy box when this ordeal is through. But what I do have is the presence of the Almighty and a chance to experience who He is in the hard times. I can tell you I’ve never been so dependent on Him as I have these past few months, and that alone has been its own reward.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26
Life makes no guarantees, but our Father can work through any circumstance. I’m trusting to that. So, hey, bring on the weak leg. It never stopped some people.
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