My mother was dearly beloved by her maternal grandfather, John K. Leigh, or so my grandmother told me. Doted over, actually, and perhaps a bit spoiled. Apparently, he gave her whatever she asked.
“There was one thing she wouldn’t ask for,” Mamma told me. “She really wanted a horse, but she knew he couldn’t give that to her, so she didn’t ask.”
Why? If he loved her that much wouldn’t he find a way to get her that horse?
Until today I thought this was a story of fear. The fear of a little girl who so needed to preserve a perfect relationship with her grandfather that she withheld her heart’s greatest desire. But today, I see it differently. I think mom was so in tune with her grandpa’s love for her that, when he came near, she no longer had this desire. She was satisfied.
God says ask. Yet, sometimes we don’t. Is it because we don’t think He’ll give it to us? Afraid He’ll turn us down? Afraid he’ll turn out not to be the God we thought He was?
I don’t think so. I think we don’t ask because we’re afraid of being chastised for wrong-requesting. How dare you ask when others are so much more in need? Don’t you realize I have bigger things to attend to? Or lack of trust: Don’t you know that I have everything in hand here?
OR do we fail to ask because, from a distance, we look to God and think, there’s really nothing to be done here. He can’t give me that horse. Better shelve it and stick to reasonable requests.
The thing is, God doesn’t want us to pray from a distance. He wants us to pray up close. So much so that He’s promised to be right there next to us. And in that proximity, the asking we had in mind from a distance changes. The please don’t let it be cancer. The please don’t let it be my child. The please don’t let it be terminal. The please let there be another way…those prayers meld into one: Lord, please be their healing.
And the Lord, ever so close, bends and whispers in my ear, I am.
Perhaps He was whispering it from afar, too, but I couldn’t hear Him. Healing may come now or later. It may be complete on this side of life or be completed in the hereafter. But it will come. In fact, it is come, because the Lord of life has said so.
Today I boldly pray without reservation, Lord, be their healing. He loves them that much.
It seems harmless. A phrase posted on a Facebook status. It’s not true, but it’s part of a game. You post something that is nonsensical or hard to believe about yourself and then the comments start rolling in. What? What are you talking about? The trick is, everyone who comments then has to post one of these phrases on their status. And their friends, and their friends, and so on. This is how it can go viral. Which is exactly what the Breast Cancer folks want (read irony into that if you will) who started this “game” in the first place.
Here are your options if you want to play the game:
“LOL…You should not have liked or commented! Now you have to pick one of the 14 below and post to your status. This is the 2014 breast cancer awareness game. Don’t be a spoil sport! Choose your poison and change your status: 1) Damn diarrhea 2) Just used my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket 3) Anyone have a tampon, I’m out 4) How do you get rid of foot fungus 5) Why is nobody around when I’m horny? 6) No toilet paper goodbye socks! Post with no explanations. 7)Someone offered me a job as a prostitute but I’m hesitant. 8)I think I’m in love with someone what should I do? 9)I’ve decided 2 stop wearing underwear. 10)I still love my ex. 11)I really don’t know how 2 tell anyone and I’m sick of hiding it I’m gay. 12)Guess it was 2 good 2 b true I’m pregnant. 13)Just won $7000 on a scratchy. 14)I’ve just found out I’ve been cheated on for the past 5 months.Post with no explanations. Sorry I fell for it too ! LOL!!!”
Now “Don’t be a spoil sport.” “Choose your poison. “Now you have to…” Do any of those send out bells and whistles for you? … Just a game.
I declined to participate ~ which should be option #15. Even when this choice isn’t stated, it’s available. We can choose another path. I’m good with that. No hard feelings.
Except, in this case the status my friend posted was #13, the ‘least harmless’ I am sure it seemed to her. As a committed Christian, it’s the least obtrusive, least likely to hurt anyone who misunderstands. She was just sharing some “made up good news.” Since I am a close friend, I see all her status posts and was immediately excited for her. Albeit a bit confused that she had a lottery ticket but still, it’s nice to hear that a good person has stumbled on some really good fortune.
Then, when I commented with “!!!” I got her message with the “changes of status” that I had to choose from. I was appalled. Actually angry. Here was someone I trusted. I actually celebrated her good news and then she said, “Gotcha!”
Harmless, right? Well no. Because I know people who have fallen for “good news” …
- the good news that someone loves them, then really doesn’t
- good news that they’ve won a trip when they really haven’t
- good news that they are under consideration for a spot on the team when they really weren’t
- good news that life will get better and it hasn’t
There is lots of news out there masquerading as good news and it isn’t. When we practice deceit in the guise of good news it’s even worse than deceiving with news that is suspect. Because everyone knows to be suspicious of that. But people who have fallen prey to good news that wasn’t learn that news is not trustworthy, and they determine that they will never be so stupid again as to be deceived by anyone bearing good news. Their hearts are hardened against the one thing that will save them. This sounds to me like very bad news indeed.
Yes, as a Christian I must be discerning about all I read and all I hear, but especially about all I share. Because it has the power to reach the ends of the earth. And there’s only one thing that should have that power. Sharing anything else disrupts the power lines. And that is very, very bad news indeed.
I am with the Breast Cancer Community heart and soul. I have many friends who have suffered with this illness, some who currently are. Cancer, itself, is doing a fine job of spreading the news of the horror of this illness, it’s treatment and the lives lived in the shadow of it. But spreading good news and calling it true when it isn’t gives an already skeptical society even more reason not to trust good news when they hear it. And that is certainly not what you intend to go viral. In fact, it sounds much more like cancer.
“God’s love reaches beyond my mistakes, my fears and my sin”
I like that image, created by Elizabeth Veldboom, author of the Upper Room meditation for today. A love that reaches beyond boundaries, even those that are indeterminate, whose margins are poorly defined, perhaps invisible to the naked eye. But all things are possible for God.
I find myself here, I suspect, because a friend has died. She had a rare form of cancer, as I understand it, that didn’t respond to any treatment. Imagine what that must be like. To be diagnosed with an invader you can’t see and can’t touch and can’t defend yourself against.
God reaches beyond this with great sweeping arms that enclose more than your fears and more than your illness. I pray that Callista felt this, at least in her last days. This enfolding by God. This holding to Himself.
I wish the treatments had been able to reach beyond this cancer. I wish there had been defined boundaries so the surgeons could have said, “We got it all; you’re clear.” But this was not the news Callista got.
And now we will gather to remember her. There will be holding and hugging and tearful goodbyes. All this will reach beyond us. Because that is what love does.
It makes the perishable, imperishable. It mends the torn, binds up the wounds heals the brokenness. Refreshes, relieves, rejuvenates. This, I imagine, was the morning after Christ returned to His heavenly throne. When the incarnation was reversed, for good.
And for the good of us all.