Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and don’t forget the good things He has done for you, says the Word.
Why do I so often forget it? To thank God or even to notice how much good He has caused in my life. That is why I’m now going to do it consciously and cognizantly and share with you some experiences I’ve had during my life.
As a young girl, I had just been told that my father had been in a car accident and that he was in the intensive care unit fighting for his life. I had asked my mother for matches and a candle and gone to pray alone in my room at a small set of a table and chairs that my father had made. I don’t remember what I prayed for, but they told me that, when visiting my father at the intensive care unit, I had sung Christian songs to him and encouraged him to have faith. I would give a lot to find out what I prayed for in that moment, because I can’t remember. But what I do remember is that when I held onto my unconscious father’s hand in the intensive care unit, he squeezed my hand. The doctors told us my father had a few months to live, a few years at a maximum. He lived a little over thirty years after the accident. That proves to me that there is a God who hears and cares.
The fire of childlike faith was strong in me as a child, but I remember the moment when the ‘Jesus is Lord’ badge sewn on my sleeve started to burn under the scrutiny of my friends and I ripped the stitches to remove the badge. I tasted the world that didn’t offer anything for the yearning inside of me to be accepted and loved. There came a moment when I was asked, “Do you have Jesus?” I was aware that I did not, not in the way I yearned, and at that Communion table I got to encounter him on a new level. That tells me that there is a God who hears and cares.
My understanding of God was distorted and made me see him as a stern father who will punish me if I don’t know how to do what he expects of me. My child got seriously ill, I had to take her to the intensive care unit. When I had the chance, I went down on my knees to cry: “If I have done something bad, please do not take your revenge on this child…” My child recovered completely, of everything. It was a miracle, and it proves to me: God hears and cares.
That was the beginning of my journey towards a loving Father; I was given the opportunity to get to know another kind of God than my own had been. As a family, we had planned to go to a Christian event. We were looking forward to it and I was packing the necessary things the night before the trip, when suddenly one of our children developed a high fever. I was upset when I realized we could not go. I prayed and continued packing, thanking God. In the morning the fever was gone. That also tells me that there’s a God who hears and cares.
My small son was turning in his bed in agony, trying to sleep, but because of his itching rash he could not. We tried ointments I found at home–in vain. I remembered that between the pages of my Bible there was a small prayer cloth the length of a few centimeters. We placed it on his skin and gathered to pray “Jesus, help!”. The rash disappeared in front of our eyes. It proved to me that God hears and cares.
I was leaving for work when a searing pain left me unable to move. I prayed, trusting that God would answer and heal, just like He had countless times before. He didn’t. I had to make an appointment to the doctor and I was waiting, in agony, to hear when I could go and receive help. Suddenly the pain was gone just as quickly as it had appeared. I was able to cancel my appointment and tell them what had happened. I learned that God hears and cares, but doesn’t always work in the same way.
Here are some examples, and I could give you more. How often it is that I get stuck looking at the circumstances and the way I feel instead of looking up trustingly toward Him, who can. And even if things don’t go right away the way I had hoped they would, I want to trust that God is good regardless –He hears and He can! He is also merciful. We can practice and get better at looking at things more from His perspective. Then things fall into their right places and we can see the good that has been given to us as a gift and that is present in our lives. The greatest of them is that He lives and causes things to happen in me. Also through me, if I just stop to understand and open myself to receive as truth what He says in his word. That is my inheritance in Jesus!
Thankfully, Tuija Reinilä, God’s beloved