Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Heart of Things

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b, NIV 1984).

91 years old and a veteran of World War II, one of “The Greatest Generation.” After we dealt with his medical problems, he told me about his battles at Guadalcanal and the Coral Sea. “They blew out of the front of our cruiser. The explosion actually made a hole in the water that our ship fell into. But we saved the ship.” He paused. “Those were probably the best days of my life.”

Same day, I was in the room with a cancer patient and his family. He had been totally estranged from them, having nothing to do with them for years. His father sat on the bed, the patient in a wheelchair, his brother standing and his sister behind his father. After I explained to them the prognosis and plan, I asked if they understood what I had told them. The sister was in tears, but not over the cancer. The brother replied, “I just heard my brother say, ‘I love you.’ We haven’t heard that in years.”
I responded to him, “Something good can come from even cancer.”
“God works in everything.” the brother replied.

“The best days of my life,” in the midst of horrible destruction.
“My brother said, ‘I love you,’” after cancer’s terrible news.

Life is so much deeper than we give it credit.

The old man had watched as character, courage and comradery had risen within and around him in ways that far outweighed the tragedy he faced.
The family found reunion and love more profound than the threat of pain and death.

There is far more to our lives than pleasure and pain.
And as the brother told us, “God works in everything.”

This is true in the lives of my patients, the lives of my family and in my own life.
Many of us walk through life with our thoughts and emotions focused on the superficial. We “fix” and we “succeed” or we “fail” at that level. Our happiness rests at that superficial level.
All the while God is doing amazing things deep within each of us, where life really matters, born in love, transformed by Christ, for our good and for His glory.

Thank you, Father, for working where life really matters. Help me to work beside you there.

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