Saturday, March 27, 2010

God's Will. . .and Sense of Humor

We human beings think we're so clever!! We pray to God so that we may come to know His will in order that we may follow it. Once we get off our knees feeling secure in the knowledge that we now understand Him perfectly, we tend to be very certain that He will act in a way that is compatible with our desires. However, God has a sense of humor!

In the continuing saga of my ailing father-in-law, Lloyd Smith, the family was called together by the doctors for a conversation about his current condition as well as future course of action. All of us braced ourselves for what obviously seemed to be the inevitable message of the physicians. What else could their message be? Of course, we knew that the end had come and it was time to begin to say our good-byes.

To our surprise, both the neurologist and surgeon agreed that there had been some minimal improvement in Lloyd's responses at the neurological level. They feel that he deserves two more days on the ventilator to see if there is more improvement. One way or the other, the breathing tube must come out before too long.

All of us in the room were dumbfounded. We simply could not believe that there had been enough progress to allow another couple of days of treatment to see if he will continue to show any signs of improvement. All of us had prayed for guidance and acceptance of God's will. All of us knew what that will would turn out to be because we were certain that God was on the same page as we.

Think again! God, in His infinite and never unsurprising wisdom, has seen fit to answer our prayers but not in the way we expected. Once again, He used Lloyd as His vessel of teaching. Through this turn of events, we have learned not to jump ahead of God. None of us has the market cornered on the desire or will of God. Even though this is a positive turn of events, it still must be pointed out that the chances of Lloyd surviving are greatly against him. Yet, where it was once felt that there was virtually no chance, now there is one, albeit rather small.

Then, without warning, late on Friday evening, March 27, a call was received from the hospital informing us that he had managed to pull the breathing tube out by himself! What a shock. Instead of waiting for Monday, Lloyd evidently decided that he'd had enough of the invasive tube. As to whether he removed the tube in a conscious effort or it was the result of the involuntary action is really irrelevant at this point. The fact is that the tube has been removed and will not be put back in.

Humility is the lesson here. We must be humble enough to let God answer our prayers in His own good time and in His own way. When the doctors told us of their findings, there was a sense of confusion at first as if the good physicians had suddenly begun to speak in Swahili. All of us were certain that the medical team had gathered us together to deliver the news that the beginning of the end was about to convene. And then, God expressed His will in the dark of night while most of us were catching forty winks!

What a wonderful lesson to learn. We are not sure at this point as to where the premature removal of Lloyd's tube will lead. But one thing is certain. The will of God is known only to Him. We can gain insight of this by quieting ourselves, distancing ourselves from the static of every day living, and truly listening carefully to discern the will of the Father. We must wipe out every notion that we somehow think we know God's will so well that we really don't have to think much about it. His will is something that we must actively seek every day of our lives through the simple, yet, very difficult and complex act of listening. This, too, is an important lesson for our interaction with one another. We are all too anxious to have our own thoughts and opinions validated to listen to each other in the way we should.

I honestly believe that God is somehow smiling at us in this moment, bemused by the fact that we all thought we knew exactly what He was going to do.

Humility! That is the key to understanding the will of God!