Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Uploading Scripture for Days Like This

As I wrote yesterday's post I debated about whether to quote scripture in detail, but decided that I had written enough to get the point across. However, today as I reflect on a particular verse I want to record it. "And the Lord blessed the latter end of Job's life more than his beginning." (Job 42:12) I recall reading it many years ago and thinking, "Well, that's a happy ending!" But lately I've been asking myself, "What would Job say was the greatest blessing?"

Job had celebrated his early life with a house full of happy children but they were swept away in a day. All his property was taken or destroyed. His health and friendships were stripped from him. And as he spoke to God about the meaning of it all, he came to terms with the fact that God is God. He acknowledged the authority of God over his circumstances. And in the later chapters of Job, God and Job were speaking to each other. There was a friendship. There was dialogue. There was a reverence and a respect that was mutual.

I wonder if the blessing in the latter part of Job's life was not that his wealth and family were restored, but that Job knew his God. He knew his Creator stayed with him through all of his trials. Job said to the Lord, "I know that you can do anything and no one can stop you. You ask who it is who has foolishly denied your providence. It is I." (Job 42:1-3). I want that kind of dialogue with God. I want to honestly kneel before Him and accept the plan He has for me.

This morning Paul Burton came to the back door clutching his chest. He came in, sat down at the table and said, "Mom, call an ambulance." His color was white and hands were blue. He was cold to the touch. He was taken to the emergency room and by the end of the day was diagnosed with esophageal spasm. It feels very much like a heart attack, but it was not. As I waited for the ambulance to arrive I stood over Paul Burton in the kitchen praying, "Lord, whatever you have planned for this day, give us grace." I was talking to the Lord just like Job had done. I found myself able to talk to the Lord as though I could see Him sitting at the table across from Paul Burton. This is how God is blessing the latter part of my life; I have accepted His Presence, providence, and gift of peace.

We are grateful tonight that the "attack" Paul Burton experienced was not serious. But several years ago he told me that if he were to die, he knew with certainty that he would be going to Heaven. He believes that Jesus was sent to the earth for the remission of the sin that separated him from God. He has received the free gift of forgiveness and grace by Christ's death on the cross, so that even in death we know we will be together again to celebrate the peace of Heaven and the joys that await for all those who believe. What better way for children to bless the latter part of their parents' lives than to tell them, "If anything happens to me, you will know that I am with God."

I would like to thank our friends and family who knew of the situation and prayed for Paul Burton today. He is resting comfortably tonight.