Sunday morning I found myself at church with my family – something that I don’t do often these days even though I grew up in church. I was a preacher’s kid. Did you know that? Anyway, I woke up aggravated because I didn’t get much sleep and my relatives who were visiting were loud and anxious to pick on me. I’m usually pretty good about it, but I prefer to be annoyed mid-afternoon or later. 😉 So I begrudgingly got up and showered and dressed for church before making the hour long drive to Uncle Wesley’s church. Oh, and I was running late (though we made it on time.)
And as I drove, I still wasn’t pleasant. My Aunt Debbie and Mom (while not completely blameless…ha) had to deal with my foul mood until I decided to let it out. I was stressed about going to church for a few reasons. The first was that one of my favorite cousins and her husband are mad at me. And while I don’t believe that I did anything to justify their anger, it bothers me. People have been mad at me before, but family is another story. And I don’t like it. So recently, I humbly approached my cousin asking why she was angry and for her forgiveness, and she said “I know I sound crazy, but I’m just not ready to forgive you yet” which leads me to my next source of frustration – church folks.
I know that there Christians who absolutely walk by faith and believe what they preach (Uncle Wesley being a shining example of that!) But more often than not, I run into professing Christians who say one thing and do another. “I’m not ready to forgive you.” What if God said that to you on judgment day? Anyway, that’s just one example of many that leave me dreading the church scene. (For the record, I believe in God, and I know what the Bible says about this topic. I’m not seeking a Biblical debate. I’m just telling you where my head was Sunday morning.)
So I went to church and felt happy as soon as I arrived, just like I always do when I visit Uncle Wesley’s bayou church. And seeing him walk in, shaking hands with people after doubting whether or not he’d make it through the week, was incredible. But that’s nothing compared to what happened during the service. My uncle Jerry had planned to preach, but Uncle Wesley moved to the front to share a few words about faith. And he preached an entire sermon on faith. He said that God had a plan, and it was time for us to start believing in it. He believes in it.
Anyway, near the end of the service Uncle Wesley asked to pray for those who had a burden that needed to be lifted. He said that he knew that some of us would be hesitant to ask him for prayer because of his circumstances, and he even went so far as to say “If you don’t come up and get your blessing, it’ll be your fault.” So there I was..sitting on the front row (to the left of my uncle’s seat) arguing with God in mind…telling him that I was still angry and unsure about Uncle W’s situation and lacking faith.
And without uttering a word, I sat with my eyes closed and told God that if he wanted to lift my burdens through prayer that he’d have to send Uncle Wesley to me because I was not moving. And literally seconds later (not exaggerating) Uncle Wesley wheeled himself over in his wheelchair and said “I’m here. God sent me.” Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?!? I was speechless and completely floored, and as he began to pray for me, my tears started flowing. He prayed for the burdens to be lifted, and they were. Whoa.
That’s not the first time I’ve asked God to prove it. I asked for the same thing around this time last year and received it so I’m not sure why I had so much doubt this time. But the bottom line is that after a few weeks or frustration and questions that only yield answers that I don’t understand, I’m at peace. I know that God is real and that there’s a plan beyond what I can see, and I can’t tell you how good that feels.
I can’t promise that I won’t doubt God or his power again because let’s face it, I’m a reflective and inquisitive human, but I’m pretty confident that God understands that since He knows my heart. I also know that whenever Uncle Wesley leaves this life that he’ll be greeted by someone who loves him more than I ever could, and there’s peace in that too. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the time I have with him whether it’s a day, a month, a year or many years. Doctors only know as much as their human brains can comprehend, but I’ve never been so sure that there’s a supernatural power that can provide healing and comfort and everything else even though I have no idea how, when or why.