“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” (Psalm 91:1-2, NIV 1984).
Sunday morning rounds before church. Two patients near the end of their lives taught me how to live more fully in the middle of my life.
The first I visited in his home where he understood he had but a few months to live. He is an agnostic but had allowed me to pray with him for his healing. It was now apparent that healing wasn’t coming. I asked him if he had any fears that I could address. He paused and sat there thinking, so I added: “I know you have never been a man of faith. But I can tell you that God is here and He loves you.”
The second patient was unconscious in the ICU and near death. I comforted the family and had little else to say. As I was silent, his wife asked me, “Would you mind praying with us?”
What good is God if He is not fixing things? Why do we seek God when we have no more to gain from Him?
God was not going to correct the tragedy in either life that Sunday morning. Yet, in one instance I encouraged the patient to seek the Lord; in the other, the patient’s family urged me to reach for Him in prayer.
There must be something more to God than “the One who fixes things.”
As I reflected on these encounters, both of which reached out for the presence of God, I looked at my own life and understood:
There is no day so futile that I do not need the presence of God.
There is no day so hopeful that I do not need the presence of God.
Even when life is going well for me and I perceive no need for God to intervene, I should seek Him; even when life is going badly, beyond the fixing of things, I should seek Him.
It’s obvious to most of us as Christians that we need God’s presence when life seems futile, just to keep us going. What is becoming more and more clear to me as I grow from experience is that I also need God desperately when life is going my way.
When life is going my way, I tend to coast on my own dreams and drift toward my own fulfillment. When life is flowing in line with my dreams, that’s when I most need His vision for life, not my own. Especially when life is good, I need my God to drive me forward toward His kingdom purpose so that I do not waste this short time on earth seeking my own. I need Him close when all is well to protect me from the sins of pride, greed, envy and apathy. It’s precisely when I see no need for God to fix things in my life that I desperately need Him to fix the things that only He can see.
Please come to me in my times of trouble and especially be here to guard me from myself when times are good.