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No Sugar Coating

Every night at Baylor St. Luke's in the medical center a chaplain comes over the speakers and prays a prayer over the the hospital.  We've been here since Friday but tonight (Monday) while sitting in my dad's room in the TSICU in the quiet was probably the first time I really listened to the prayer.  This gentleman prayed over the patients and their families...I nodded in agreement.  He prayed over the staff and families...I nodded in agreement. He then thanked God for the good and the bad.  That one made me stop.  Now don't get me wrong I know that God is good all the time. I know that we are supposed to have thankful hearts.  I know the song I Will Praise You in this Storm.  I know God works things together for good for those who love him etc.   I know all of that... in my head.  But when you're watching your loved one endure the unimaginable, thanking God for the suffering is the last thing on your mind. I thanked him every time the nurse came out of the OR on Friday and said he's still stable.  I thanked him when he made it through surgery ok.  I thank him every time the nurses are able to give him help for pain.  I've thanked him that today he was able to talk to us more and his sense of humor is back.  I have no trouble thanking him many times a day, but I haven't thanked him for the bad. The cancer. The surgery that I won't even detail here because it's awful. I didn't thank him when the nurse came out of the OR after probably 4 hours and said well the surgeon can't do the operation robotically they'll have to cut him open which added several hours to the surgery (it was almost 11 hrs total).   I haven't thanked him that there is also cancer elsewhere that still has to be removed with a whole kidney when he recovers from this.  I'm not even sure I know how to thank him for all of this and be sincere.  And so I sit here in the quiet and I meditate on that.  I'm reminded that our pastor is preaching a sermon series on spiritual discipline and I know he's right about how important it is to put what we know is right into practice (or he wouldn't preach it). So I sincerely want to know how can I be grateful for the bad right now?  It brings tears to my eyes to even think about all the bad and honestly if I let myself I could cry a river over it.  And then I hear the words almost audibly... "the Spirit utters groanings on our behalf".  There it is.  I go and I look it up and just above the verse that tells me that for those who love him and are called according to his purpose God works all things together for good are these very reassuring and grace extending words.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Romans 8:26 ESV

Right now I don't know how to have a grateful heart for the the bad but once again God has proven himself faithful to me and when I truly meditate on the question "what do I know to be true?" he speaks to me.  Tonight he told me that he knows my weakness AND he also knows my heart.  So while I cannot pray right now as I ought to,  His Spirit will fill in the gap for me. I don't know about you but that brings me great comfort in my humanness.  

No sugar coating,
Jamie Smith
Kids Director
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