When Jim was younger, he loved birds of prey. So much so, that we went to see the fall migration of these birds at Hawk Mountain Bird Sanctuary in Kempton, PA—twice! We would climb Hawk Mountain and wait to see several raptors fly above our heads as they made their way south for the winter. The things you do for love! 🙂 Actually, we never got to see a lot of birds (it rained the entire time both times), but we loved it all the same. http://www.hawkmountain.org/
One visit, I went to the local grocery store to get food for our meals. Our hotel room had a small refrigerator and microwave and we were making this trip on a tight budget. While I was at the store, I saw a magazine showcasing a famous actress who had a child with autism. Naturally, I was interested and bought the magazine.
As I sat in our little hotel room, which was quite tight with six people, I read the magazine article. The actress spoke about her child’s condition and then she said something that hit me in stomach. She said she prayed to God to heal her son and then she would tell everyone how she did it.
I read that sentence a couple of times. Did I misread that? God heals and she will tell everyone how she did it? What? She then talked about how well her son was doing; he truly was doing amazingly well. All the things and therapies she was doing, we were doing, too, yet we didn’t have the ‘success story’. We were just going tremendously in debt to pay for all of it.
I took the magazine and tossed it on the bed…well, I threw it across the bed and it hit the wall is more accurate. I was so upset but I had nowhere to go in this little space. The only space available: the bathroom. I told David I was going to take a shower. As I took my shower, I sobbed about why couldn’t we have the “success story”? Why can’t I have a “yes” to my prayers for Sarah’s healing? I pleaded to the Lord that I loved Him and I am His child and yet why wasn’t He giving me the “yes” and healing Sarah like this actress’ son?
As I let the hot water pour on my head, in my brokenness and weariness this verse flooded my thoughts,
“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” Genesis 15:1
I substituted my name for Abram and let those words, those promises sink in. Don’t be afraid. He is my shield; He is my great reward. Sarah being healed is not my reward, He is. And while in my mind, I thought Sarah’s healing is what I really wanted, I realized that it is not my prize, He is. This life with Sarah is temporal (though sometimes it feels like eternity!) and my focus should not be on Sarah’s healing, but knowing Him more in the midst of it. In heaven Sarah will be healed, but for now her condition causes me to fall on my knees to seek Him all the more! I have nothing to fear because He is with me and goes before me as my shield. How often have we known that He has protected us, gone before us, and provided us in tangible and intangible ways?
So while I don’t understand, I will walk closely behind Him (to have that shield be effective, I better be in close step behind Him!) and fixing my eye on Him…my very great reward.