When you buy a big bag of Fuji apples and leave them unattended in the fridge for over a week because Honeycrisp apples go on sale at Piggy Wiggly and you just have to have some, don’t be surprised if a Fuji or two need a few rather deep incisions before they are fit for consumption. That happened to me yesterday. I saw first hand what “rotten to the core” really looks like. Handling my paring knife with skill and precision, though, still netted me just two and a half slices shy of a whole apple. I should have been a surgeon.
It’s wise not to get over-ambitious with buying apples when you already have two weeks’ worth of apples at home, especially when you’re the only one eating them.
That was a lesson learned.
Now here’s the lesson from yesterday that possibly and maybe hopefully was misconstrued.
As I pre-trip my bus in the afternoons and drive to school to pick up my kids I generally listen to June Hunt on Bott Radio Network. She was talking about a lady who had called in to her program who was obsessed with the possibility of something happening to her young son, almost to the point of being paralyzed with fear.
The verse June gave her was in Psalms 139:15-16. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.…
June meant this as comfort to the young mother, but the implications I saw in this were far from comforting.
The Bible tells us that worrying is a sin. The Bible assures us indeed that worrying is vanity. We are asked rhetorically in Matthew 6:27 and Luke 12:25 which of us can add even one cubit to his stature by worrying about it.
Neither can we add even one day to our lives. I understand why worrying is a sin. Worrying is a lack of faith in God. I get that.
What I don’t get is praying. Does this verse lend more meaning than what we want it to have?
I think back to 9-11. How many people on those planes had been covered with prayers for “travel mercies”? And yet they didn’t receive any travel mercies.
How many people are covered by prayers of healing every single day? And yet many of those people are not healed. Many of those people die.
If God already knows the plane is going to crash, then prayers for travel mercies are in vain. If God already knows, before we are born, that cancer will consume us at the age of thirty, then prayers for healing are in vain.
Who of us, by taking thought, can change what, in God’s mind and God’s will, is a done deal?
Then I was prompted to look at the Lord’s prayer. The disciples had asked Jesus to teach them to pray. What are the things He said we should pray for? “Hallowed be thy name.” We are to pray in reverence to God, to respect who He is. In this, I would also include thanksgiving for things God has given us just because of His loving kindness and who He is, a good God.
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” I once had a family member tell me my church was dead because we prayed for God’s will. She said, “I don’t want you to pray for God’s will: I want you to pray that my son will be healed!”
She’s the one who told me when Chelsea was born that God would heal her of her spina bifida, but we had to all have faith that He would do it, before it would work–as if our faith is some kind of a magic formula that gets God going. God’s hands are tied to heal us, apparently, if our faith is not great enough.
Name it and claim it.
Let me just interject here that the only perfect healing is death. Even if a person is completely healed of tuberculosis or lymphoma or leukemia, that person still has an appointment with death. The body will continue to decline by some other means. The heart or liver or kidneys will wear out, maybe, but that person will die–if the Lord doesn’t come back first. Only then will that person receive a glorified body and perfect healing, never again to be tainted by illness, disease, decay or pain.
The Lord’s prayer mentions deliverance from evil. Is sickness evil or is it a natural occurrence because of the fall? Sin, obviously, is evil. Worry is evil. Gluttony is evil. Homosexuality, lying, stealing, lust, adultery, hatred, anger, killing: all these things are evil. I take from the Lord’s prayer, then, that it is appropriate to ask for release from sin’s powerful grip.
Depression. Is it evil or is it a sickness that just happens because of the fall? This is one that I don’t understand, yet, but I hope to come to terms with it because it is something with which I am plagued from time to time.
I often think, “Wow, Lord, how can I be depressed when everything in my life is going so well? I still have my husband and kids. I have my job, my health, my home. What would ever happen to me if I lost any of those things? What kind of despair would envelope me then if I struggle with feelings of despair now when everything is fine?”
If depression is born of worry or self-absorption or discontentment or lack of faith in God or–I don’t know: what else can cause depression?–then I can understand how it’s evil. If depression is evil then it’s okay to ask to be delivered from it.
But what if depression is just a sickness or a disease, something that can be medicated, as some believe, like diabetes? See, with Psalm 139 and the Lord’s Prayer, now I’m teetering on whether it’s vanity to pray for healing. I can’t see myself stopping praying for healing or even travel mercies, but it may very possibly be in vain.
It’s just like me to over-think everything, and I’m not going to draw this blog out into an endless barrage of what-ifs. The bottom line is, I know it’s okay to pray for God’s grace, His deliverance, His forgiveness and His will.
What is that old saying? “Prayer doesn’t change things. Prayer changes people, and people change things.” Maybe it is through prayer that God makes us think about the unthinkable and changes our hearts and prepares us for what is to come. Maybe prayer is a way that God bestows His grace upon us.
June Hunt went on to say that none of our pain and suffering is in vain because we can use whatever we go through to help someone else who is going through the same thing. Yes, I understand that. We can then comfort others by the same comfort wherewith we have been comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:6).
The gray areas concern me. Let me just tell you who I am right now or, rather, who I am not. I am not a Calvinist. I believe that God knows everything that will happen, but I don’t believe He forces those things which He foreknows to come to pass. My brain is feeble and tiny in the scope of a mighty and powerful God, and in no way do I pretend to understand all the weighty matters of the universe or the ways of God; but I do know my God is good. I know that my God would not predestine anyone to hell and not give him a choice in the matter. My God is fair and my God is just, and it makes me angry when anyone tries to malign the character and goodness of God.
My God would not call some to repentance and belief and not call others and then punish the others for not coming to repentance and for not believing–if it was His decision and choice that they would not, indeed if He forbade them to come. (Good books on the subject: The Other Side of Calvinism by Lawrence M. Vance, What Love Is This by Dave Hunt, The Dark Side of Calvinism by George Bryson. My favorites of the three are What Love Is This and The Dark Side of Calvinism; the other one is a little dry and hard to get through.)
Now for the piddly stuff. My dentist appointment went pretty well. I have to go in the day before Thanksgiving for buildups and temporary crowns. Dr. Hinton told me to baby my teeth. I guess that means plenty of oatmeal for me and to cut up my apples, as I usually do anyway, and crunch them on the other side of my mouth.
My knee is still not back to normal, so my walking has been less than I would like. I did another five minutes last night at 3.0 m.p.h. on the treadmill. I contemplated doing ten, but the last minute I caught myself starting to favor my left leg so I decided not to.
There is a difference between “difficult” and “painful.” If walking were merely difficult, as it was when I was 313 pounds, I would force myself to keep going, but I don’t think it’s wise to continue when I’m experiencing actual pain in my knee. Still, I am hopeful that this will be short-lived and that I’ll be walking with ease again very soon.
I’ve been pretty consistent with staying on-plan and am sorry that I’ve been slacking with the blog. Mainly it’s been because of the aforementioned depression. While it hasn’t been crippling or immobilizing, I have battled a little this past week or so. Yesterday, for instance, I felt just plain worn-out. I went to bed right after breakfast and had hoped to catch an hour’s nap, but instead I caught about an hour’s worth of prayer.
There’s nothing more aggravating than being tired and not being able to sleep, unless I guess it would be needing to pray and not being able to do that, either.
Today is a plasma day. Cam and I have appointments at 4:00. That’s normally the time I have my afternoon snack, so I got up early to A). work on my blog and B). start my meals early so I can move up my afternoon snack to 3:00.
My prayers for each of you include God’s mercy, grace, deliverance from evil and, of course, His will to be done in your life and on earth as it is in heaven. He’s a good God. Whatever horrific things we may be facing in our future, we can be sure that His grace will be there to comfort us and help us endure.
Stats for 10/31/15:
Exercise: I’m trying
Blood sugar: I haven’t been checking lately, but when I do check it’s within normal range
Breakfast (7:30) E: two pieces of Ezekiel toast with Happy Farms cheese and Smucker’s Simply Fruit
Lunch (11:00) crossover: bowl of chili with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese
Afternoon snack (2:30) E: Fuji apple and either Triple Zero or a smoothie
Dinner (6:30 or so) crossover: more chili
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