It is a conversation starter as well as a challenge I throw at Jesus quite often. He has a very understanding look on His face. I sit in my chair and glower at Him.
“We’ve covered this ground before,” He says.
“Sure, sure, so tell me,” I say, “you could part the Red Sea but couldn’t save one little woman from cancer?” He dislikes cynicism but I can’t resist.
“Remember your father-in-law,” He reminds me.
How can I forget? It was 1979 and my father-in-law didn’t look like he was going to recover from surgery. I was a new Christian who stormed into the hospital like Tim Tebow ready to roll over Satan and pull the game out late in the 4th quarter. I threw perfect spiral prayers to every part of the end zone. Apparently I didn’t hit any of my receivers. My father-in-law died.
I looked for answers to why he died. And more importantly, why my prayers went unanswered. Several days later, while I was mowing the lawn on my tractor, Jesus spoke to me, or maybe the tractor backfired. I’m not sure which.
“What’s your problem?” He sounded annoyed; or it could have been a faulty carburetor. “You asked for his life and I gave him eternal life.”
“But … but …” But I knew He had me.
“But what about my wife, you’ve been ducking that one.”
“Remember what she said?”
During one of our talks before she died she said she knew where she was going and whom she was going to be with. She told me she wouldn’t trade addresses with me even if she could.
“Did she have to deteriorate the way she did? Where was the dignity in that?” I asked smugly, sure that I had Him this time.
“You only saw her body diminish — you couldn’t see her spirit flourish, or her faith mushroom, or her trust in me grow.”
“That isn’t what I wanted.”
“It wasn’t about you.”
“Is it about me now?”
“Lord, help Thou my unbelief.”
“I just did.”