Thursday, September 19, 2013

To What Avail Scripture?

In spite of what many people think, I have a liberal dose of St. Thomas’s genes deposited within me. Likely for that reason and no other, I tend to be skeptical when it comes to asking God to point me to specific scripture. Yet, on many occasions, when I have done that – or when I have been pointed to specific passages without even asking – what I end up reading is so pertinent that it could not be an accident. Last night’s reading left no doubt.

In the late evening, I posted the Pray for Ray button, which Edie had sent me. Then, I quickly answered the question in a comment left by Anne (Imprisoned in My Bones - Releasing My Inner Jeremiah) on the original post about Ray’s heart attack as to how I could maintain strong faith in spite of experiencing challenge after challenge. My response was that the blessings and miracles that have been associated with challenges in the past lead me to welcome challenges as positive, not negative. I find them intriguing. Each time I wonder what the resultant blessings and miracles will look like since I know for sure that they will come.

Right after that and before going to bed, I picked up the Bible for a nightly scripture reading, and it fell open to Job, Chapter 2. Now, I have limited patience for re-reading that which I know well. (Yes, I know; I do need to develop more patience in that respect and many other respects.) I read Job five times a few years back when God told me to do that in order to understand why my children were born with birth defects, and I wrote about my interpretation after each reading in my book, Blest Atheist. So, I was pretty certain that I had Job nearly memorized and was not really in the mood to read Chapter 2 in particular again (not that I remembered specifically what was in Chapter 2). So, I prayed for help in finding a proper passage for my evening reading.

Then, perhaps a little less confident than I should have been that I would indeed find an interesting and useful passage, I rifled the pages with both thumbs, which is not how I opened the Bible the first time – the first time it fell open by itself when I picked it up. Where the thumbs met, I opened the Bible.

I was stunned! I had opened to Job, Chapter 2, the very same page where the Bible had fallen open! So, now, having once again been divinely hit on the head after exhibiting a great deal of denseness, I read Chapter 2. In reading it, I came across this verse (Job 2:10), which was Job’s response to the painful boils with which God had allowed Satan to inflict him: “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”

Now that should have been the answer to Anne’s question. I have indeed accepted good from God: the amazing appearance of a doctor from outside our geographic region who knew a new method for curing bone infections that has allowed our daughter Noelle to escape an amputation, our granddaughter Nikolina’s extraordinary growth from a disassembled infant to a pretty and happy 8-month-old interested in the whole world and right on target for all developmental milestones (Stanford University Hospital is calling her their miracle baby of 2009), our grandson Nathaniel’s development as a perfectly healthy and extremely bright school child following five surgeries for hydronephrosis as an infant, the myriad of miracles we experienced with Shura, my being pulled out of danger upon multiple occasions, and on and on and on, including Ray’s awakening from an 8-month coma two years ago. Yes, indeed, given all the remarkable good that has come the way of the Mahlou clan, who are we to complain about accompanying adversity. More important than any balance between good and bad, which I am not sure I could calculate, anyway, since God always turns the bad into good is the fact that both the good and the bad have given us the skills to help other people in ways that have, in some cases, been very important and in other cases have changed professional practices.

So, in conclusion, I am forced (how sad that God so often has to “force” me) to conclude that God does have a hand in what scripture we end up reading when we consciously or unconsciously allow Him that hand.

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