Thursday, May 7, 2009

By faith, you…

Finish the thought for yourself.

I just wanted to share with you some thoughts I’ve been having this week regarding faith and miracles.

One of my students, who is an atheist, brought up a question in one of his blogs (because I have them write blogs as assignments) that I found peculiar: If God exists, why don’t we see miracles (I assume he’s referring to events such as the burning bush, the Flood, Pentecost, etc., not miracles such as life itself)?

I have a different question: Why do we not acknowledge those miracles?

I don’t know your thoughts on miracles in general, but I fully believe God works supernaturally and in ways we cannot understand. I have seen too much in my life to believe otherwise.

But, honestly, that’s not the point of today’s blog. I bet you’re surprised, aren’t ya? ;)

No, I want to share what God has done this week to those around me.

First, let’s start with Superman. His diabetes is getting under control. His blood sugar is ranging in the 80s, which is FABULOUS. We were riding in the car Sunday, he was reading without his glasses (I was driving), and suddenly he looked up and exclaimed, “I can see!”

I glanced warily at him. “What?”

“I can see!” His mouth hung open. “I can see – without my glasses. I can see the street signs and the houses – I can see it all.”

And he could. He thoroughly enjoyed reading the street signs -- better than me with my contacts -- all the way home. We called our “resident doctor,” who told us that as Superman’s blood sugar got under control, his eyesight would improve. I gotta say, y’all might not consider that a miracle, but it’s nice to see my hubby’s beautiful blue eyes without glasses in front of them.

Now, on to the student. I don’t teach her, but she is a journalism major, and she lost a friend in a car crash last week. She’s devastated. She came in my office to mention something, and her eyes suddenly welled up with tears. She apologized, which I told her there was no reason for, and she just said how she had been taught in church that her friend was in a better place…but it all just seemed like empty platitudes.

Rachel had shared with me a while back her thoughts on faith and death when one of my colleagues questioned God because of a man who died. I knew I didn’t have the answers – no one does – but this reply Rachel sent really helped. (It’s posted at the end.)

I printed out the sheet and handed it to my student. She read it over, hugged and thanked me, and left.

She returned the next morning with a bright smile on her face. “I just wanted to thank you for giving me that sheet again,” she said. “It still hurts, but that helped so much. I made a copy of it for my friends – I hope you don’t mind.”

“Of course not!” I said. “I hope you pass it on.”

And she did. She truly is a changed girl. She’s still sad, you can see it in her eyes, but there is an unwavering Hope and Joy that she knows that while we don’t understand God’s plan, we do know He is in control.

Here is the message:

This is tough, because it's almost an unanswerable question.

First of all, by questioning why someone dies and how and when, what they do is a presumption of judgment over God. What people mean when they make comments like hers is, "If I were God, this wouldn't have happened." It's a statement of a position of righteousness - "I know better than God." The book of Job asks, "Is any man more righteous than God?" (Job 4:17).

We will NEVER understand why certain people die so young or in pain, especially those who are God's servants and mouthpieces. So the best answer for when someone asks, "Why did this happen?" is "I don't know."

Matt 5:45, the sun and rain fall on the righteous and the unrighteous.

We have to be able to take both what good happens and what "bad" happens, and not be selective of what we choose to accept; otherwise we fall into the role of playing God by deciding what should and shouldn't happen. Why did God allow this to happen? We don't know and we never will. We just have to accept that His purposes are being accomplished still through it.

Keep an eternal perspective in all things, not just the good. God is outside of time; He sees all and knows all. Who knows? We don't know. Sometimes in our suffering we minister best to others. Perhaps God allowed him to have and perish because God knew he would hold firm until the end as we're commanded to do, versus someone who would abandon God over the "injustice" of it. We have no problem lauding a martyr who willingly gives their life to God, but we like to play judge when it's someone we think should be allowed to stick around awhile. Romans 8:28: All things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose. Take heart that God's purpose was accomplished in him. Obviously he made an impact, and for that he is probably receiving a "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Grieving is natural but you have to be careful to not place yourself in the "God" position and think that "you could do it better" because we're humans. We have a human perspective, whereas God is outside of time. And that's as much as we can say.

Take comfort in Romans 8:28, and also in Psalm 37:25 "I was young and now am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken." If David can say these words and they're good enough to be put in the Bible, then we can believe them, too.


septembermom said...

Very comforting words for all of us who grieve. It is wonderful how your students approach you to discuss their feelings and concerns. You are making a difference in their lives on multiple levels.

Chatty Kelly said...

I wish all students had a teacher like you. You really care. That rocks!

Brooke said...

does the student not realize that having you as a teacher is a miracle itself? having someone who loves her, doesn't judge her, and considers her students more than just a name in a gradebook

Mari said...

I love that. I'm going to print it out too. It really puts things into words much better than I could. Thanks!

Growin' with it! said...

God is TRULY big enough for all our questions and loves us just the same even when we doubt. such a cool post lady! and happy for your hubby too!

StephieAnne said...

And that makes your profession so amazing, huh? And, wow - what an awesome thing about your hubby's eyesight!

Rick said...

God still works in mysterious ways.

Anonymous said...

Great on Superman's sight! Love how He uses you to rejoice with those who do rejoice and weep with them that weep.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

(Here's my edit... ha!)
So thankful for the time when my sis gave me that verse,(Rom. 12:15) on another's behalf.

MInTheGap said...

There's a reason that God did big things and then told people to remember and rehearse them-- and even then we see that the children of Israel forgot what happened shortly thereafter.

That's part of the reason (I believe) that God works miracles in the everyday, and wants to build relationships rather than doing the great works of old.

Not that He can't or doesn't do them, but that He's no longer a God that's far off, but one that is close, changing the heart every day.

Thanks for sharing!

Falling Around said...

Beautiful. And so true.

Glad to hear your hubby can see again. What an absolute joy that must be for him!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

The story about Superman's eyesight? Absolutely a miracle! And I love that you see it as that.

I love what Rachel shared - that girl has got some great insight.