A few days ago I received an email from a friend whose daughter has recently been diagnosed with a very serious brain tumor that will, unless something unusual happens, take her life in the next 12-24 months. She and her husband are missionaries with a very effective outreach to the men and women serving in the Armed Forces. We know them well and have great confidence in the work they are doing for the Lord. My friend's daughter is only 40 years old. Here's a snippet from the email I received:
There are literally now thousands of people praying for God to intervene, and we thank you immensely. Keep it up-we believe in a miracle-working God.
He closed his email with these words:
Teary eyed, but believing good things are ahead,
Almost every day I receive emails like that. We all do. Here in the United States we're currently debating health care precisely because we have so many sick people. And every day we're reading about the spreading H1N1 flu pandemic. I have a friend in cancer treatment in Dallas, several more in Tupelo, and not a week goes by without someone asking me to pray for them regarding cancer, either their own or the cancer of a friend or loved one. Another friend is in the hospital with a rare strain of encephalitis. We have been praying for all these, and of course for Colson Taylor who was born on June 26 and has had a hard go of it ever since.
There seems to be no end of disease and sickness. It goes hand-in-hand with living on what playwright Noel Coward called this "death-sentenced planet." And for two thousand years Christians have followed the example of Jesus in caring for the sick and dying. In every branch of the Christian movement, our people have started missionary clinics, hospitals, sanitariums, rest homes, leprosariums, rural health care clinics, pharmacies and medical schools, and we have worked to provide clean food and water for those without it. Christians are not the only ones doing these areas, but in many places we have led the way. From Chittagong to Galmi, from Jos to Asuncion the followers of Christ have prayed and given and sacrificed to help the suffering in the name of Jesus.
As my friend's email demonstrates, often the concern comes very close to home. He knows fully the medical prognosis for his daughter. I know he knows it because he has written about it openly. And in light of that, knowing that at the present time there is no medical cure for her brain tumor, he thanks people for their prayers, and then he says, "Keep it up-we believe in a miracle-working God."
When I read those words I thought to myself, "That's the right balance. That's how a Christian talks and prays when faced with a medical emergency."
You get the best medical help you can.
You face reality squarely.
You ask your friends to pray.
You remind yourself and others that we believe in a miracle-working God.
you keep believing, though it be through teary eyes, and even though
the "good things" that are ahead may come in heaven, not on earth.
You can read the rest of the message online.