Sunday, September 25, 2011

God’s faithful servant, Daryl

Preamble:  This missive may not be completely perfect in progression of thought, but hang in there with me.  I’m not sure I’ll explain this well, but I’m gonna try. 

I’ve often wondered why God does not heal Daryl.  I have never met a more humble, honest, godly man than Daryl.  I have met men as godly, but never more so.  For the 36 (almost) years of our marriage, and the year before when I met him, his life has consistently been characterized by a faithfulness to the Word and to prayer.  He shepherds his flock at Countryside, and his flock at home.  So, of course I am amazed that God does not heal His faithful servant Daryl of his cancer.  And foot pain.  And fatigue. 

I thoroughly understand that God does not heal everyone of illnesses, and that His glory is the ultimate goal of all things in our lives.  I understand that nothing He does is wrong, and I don’t waste time on the “Why, God?” stuff.  I trust Him.  But I DO wonder sometimes, why did Jesus heal so many people, but not Daryl. 

I’ve even  gone the (wrong) route of, “is my faith too small?”  “Am I the holdout?”

So, I’ve been reading Matthew (not the son, the Bible book) 9. Jesus started by meeting people’s physical needs at the feeding of the 5000 back in chapter 6.  Free food gets people to listen.

Then, over and over Jesus healed people…masses of people…people who just touched Him…family members of disciples.  And He did it willingly, not sparingly.  It’s always been hard for me to read about all those healings, and not extrapolate it into Daryl’s need.  Today, I think I began to get the picture. 

After healing the masses, Jesus healed the demoniacs, and sent the demons into the herd of swine.  Okay, that affected the area’s economics, so the locals told Jesus to please depart their region. They didn’t get all excited about the man who was now well and in his right mind.

After that, the paralytic was brought to Jesus by his friends.  Jesus saw their faith, and said, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” Of course the Scribes yelled “Foul!  Only God can forgive sins, you’re blaspheming!”

Jesus (who is taking things beyond the shallowness of the “heal me next, heal me next” cries of the people) says, “okay, which is easier?  To say ‘your sins are forgiven you’ or ‘arise and walk’.  To let you know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins,” (turning here to the paralytic) “arise and take up your bed and go to your house.” 

That’s where I always miss the point.  The focus of the people was on the healings.The emphasis Jesus was trying to project in training his disciples here was His power to forgive sins. Jesus started off tending to physical needs. The healings were out of both Jesus’ compassionate heart, and His plan to train his disciples to focus on the eternal.  Matthew is showing us the progression of a plan to take those who follow Christ from self centered to seeing God.  

Then comes the point of it all…Matthew 9:8  “Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God”

The healings were not the point.  They were an avenue to bring the disciples' thinking from Point A to Point G.  God’s Glory.  To take us from the self-centeredness of “this will make me happy.  Being well will make my heart be of good cheer” to the point of understanding that my concept of happy is not eternal.  It is temporal.  God wants me to grasp and embrace the eternal.  Salvation, a right heart with God, is eternal. 

God is using Daryl’s illness to glorify Himself.  I knew that, and embraced it.  But I still wondered why God doesn’t heal Daryl, His faithful servant.  Like the people Jesus was teaching, my focus was on the healing. For whatever reason, Daryl with cancer glorifies God in a way that Daryl healed wouldn’t.  I’ll continue to ask God to heal Daryl.  But now, I’m confident that when He says “wait”, then it is for His own glory, and not because I lack faith.  My faith is, and always has been, in the right place.  :-)  And that, dear ones, makes my heart “Be of good cheer.”