Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Chinese House of Pizza

Trusting God’s Word When the Menu is Unclear

Traveling a rural highway in South Carolina we drove past the sign. The building was uninspiring with no cars in the gravel parking lot. Dr. Feelgood and I laughed at the images the words created: pizza with bamboo shoots, wontons stuffed with mozzarella, sweet and sour anchovies. Nothing sounded appealing. I imagined it to be some kind of a marketing ploy – get the parents in for Chinese and offer pizza for the kids – a something for everyone kind of place. But I have such conflicted mental taste buds that I cannot appreciate the creativity of the proprietor. This was certainly not what I wanted for lunch. Even Duke’s Barbeque sounded more digestible than hot and sour pizza.

Funny how we have ideas about food combinations and it’s hard to adjust our mental palate. We balk at trying something that offers a new flavor experience. Like the road side vegetable stand that offered so many colors of heirloom tomatoes – beautiful to admire, but I do not want to eat a purple tomato. Tomatoes are red. And I like bacon with eggs, but Blair reminded me that when she studied in Costa Rica the daily breakfast was eggs with black beans and onions which she grew to appreciate.

Sometimes we are forced to look at things in new ways. In June 2007 (two years ago this week) we were looking at illness in frighteningly new ways. We were coming to the realization that Megan was seriously ill. She had been tested for everything imaginable and was diagnosed with the worst of the un-imaginable – Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a terminal disease that is extremely rare and affects mostly older people. Even her doctor tried desperately to make some treatable diagnosis “fit” her symptoms. Nothing made sense. We looked with unbelieving heads and hearts at what had been put before us. It was an awful combination with the bitter taste of death. Stunned with disbelief we brought her home to wait for a miracle.

The words in scripture held me together. I believed God would cure Megan. I trusted his timing as I claimed his promises. I could wait. Others prayed and together we waited, watched, prayed, and pleaded. And somewhere in the waiting the focus shifted from what I wanted to what God wanted. I don’t know where or how that mysteriously occurred. God did it with grace and love while I kicked and screamed. Specific passages such as Psalm 91 gave me the hope that God would for sure; provide his angels to protect Megan, that she would be sheltered from the storm under God’s feathers. I thought that meant she would get well. Then she died and the same verses transformed in meaning. God did raise Megan up on angel’s wings and take the pestilence from her. He allowed her to watch him destroy the disease as he rescued her.
I am disappointed that God did not give Megan a longer life - for me. But learning to align with God’s will has provided a new level of trust. I did receive His will as I gave up. Every night while Megan was waiting for God to rescue her we prayed “Thy will be done”. Did we mean what we said? Did we trust the meaning? If so, there is freedom in this life and scripture helps us to understand. But some days the words can be as perplexing as the Chinese House of Pizza. They might not make sense and trust is the only thing to do – especially when you are hungry.

Maybe we should have at least looked at the menu.

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