God is at work when He brings blue-sky blessings, and He is at work when He tests our faith strength with trials.
God is at work today, whether or not I can see Him. He is invisible, and sometimes His activity is shrouded, but it always comes to light, for my good and for His glory.
A few years ago, my son David was sick. I believe that he had a fungal infection in his lungs, although we'll never know for sure. His saxophone reeds turned black when he played on them. Every time he got a hint of a cold, it immediately brought on a serious fever, and within 24 hours he would be coughing blood. Doctors kept prescribing antibiotics, which are not helpful when you are dealing with a fungus; in fact, they are counter-productive. David had a few allergic reactions to these antibiotics. It was a time of great stress.
I prayed and prayed and prayed. God didn't seem to answer. At one point, we even asked people to come over and anoint David with oil and pray for him. Again, nothing happened right away.
This week I was reading in my Bible. I was looking for a specific verse, to encourage me in my present valley. I found it in the end of James 5:16 --
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (NLT)
I have to remind myself continually that I am righteous, not because I am perfect, for I know that I am far from perfect and have sinned many, many times. I am righteous because I have been bought with the blood of Christ, washed clean, forgiven, and justified before God because of the righteousness of Christ that has been credited to me by grace, through faith. Because of what Jesus has done for me, I can claim this promise, that my prayers have great power and will produce wonderful results. Because of Jesus.
Finding and meditating on this verse was a great comfort to me, first because of what it means, and second because of the context where I found it.
Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. (James 5:14, NLT)
Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. (James 5:15, NLT)
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16, NLT)
In reading the surrounding verses, I was reminded of when we called for people to come and pray for David and anoint him with oil. David did not receive immediate healing on that afternoon of prayer. In fact, it took nearly two more years, but ultimately he has been healed amazingly. During the time when Shawn and I were on our trip to Utah for our 25th anniversary in June 2012, David ran out of his asthma medicine. He called us in Utah, and I started to scramble to figure out how to call the pharmacy back home and get a refill for him. However, he stopped me. "I feel good, Mom," he said. "I think I'll be fine if I wait until you get home." By the time we got home, David was feeling great, the best he had felt in years, he said. He wanted to stay off the medicine. His health has been so different ever since. Last year, he even ran a half marathon, with no medicine at all.
God jogged these memories in me, I'm sure, to strengthen my faith and to remind me that He is in control, working on His perfect time table, attentive and able and always planning for our good and His glory. He worked then, and He is working now.
I will end with some completely unrelated vacation pictures. It was a joyful time, and it is good to focus on joy.
A funny picture of Shawn and Jon at the beach.
Shanny and Jon in the sunset.
People I love in front of Carolina blue sky.
Caswell Beach, on a day I got them out for a shark-free excursion.
Oak Island lighthouse at Caswell Beach.
A tug boat in Cape Fear.
On the ferry to the Fort Fisher Aquarium (another shark-free excursion day).
A seaworthy crow near a rope.
A pelican on a post. I cannot explain my delight over pelicans.
Me! At the aquarium, looking at an eerie tank of jellyfish.
One of our little base camps at the beach.
The view from under our umbrella.
The little red shovel Shawn used to dig our umbrella in, each time he set it up.