November 14, 2009

Gratitude (cont'd)

I want to follow up on Susie's earlier post on gratitude. (Yes, I realize I'm the second-best blogger in my marriage. I'm dealing with it.)

The Bible tells us that "our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases." Gotta love the bluntness. He does whatever He pleases. And yet the Bible also tells us that God listens to the prayers of his people. How to reconcile these things? I cannot, nor do I try. It's a mystery. Like the psalmist, I don't concern myself with things that are too great for me.

But I know that He tells us to pray. "Come now, let us reason together," he says. He listens intently as we lay out our case before Him. On two different occasions -- right before Anne Marie's surgery, and then again before she came off ECMO -- I have to admit I was at the end of my rope and had to retire to a private consultation room around the corner from Anne Marie's room. On both of these occasions the prospect of her death was very real. Through tears I prayed:
I know you're gonna do what you're gonna do. And I know you don't decide which prayers to answer simply by counting noses. Nevertheless, look at all these people who are praying. I mean, look at them! Don't you hear all these people pleading with you, begging you for mercy? Not to get all in your face, but don't you hear them? Why wouldn't you answer? It would be so easy for you to spare her life! Think about how it will strengthen all these people's faith if you answer their prayers!
I don't pretend to know what's going on in the heavenlies. I see through a glass darkly. And I don't know if Anne Marie will live for another week or another century. My point here is simply this: I am grateful to everyone who is praying for her. God is hearing and answering your prayers.
I love God because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy.
   He listened so intently
      as I laid out my case before him.
   Death stared me in the face,
      hell was hard on my heels.
   Up against it, I didn't know which way to turn;
      then I called out to God for help:
   "Please, God!" I cried out.
      "Save my life!"
   God is gracious—it is he who makes things right,
      our most compassionate God.
   God takes the side of the helpless;
      when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.

-- Psalm 116: 1-6