Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Without Gravity

“First this: God created the Heavens and Earth – all you see, all you don’t see,” (Genesis 1:1, The Message Bible, Eugene H. Peterson, italics mine). When I think of the creation week, I automatically think of the obvious – light/dark, sun/moon, animals/man, but God created a whole system of life, a system that often works in the invisible. As time has marched on we’ve discovered some of God’s invisible world: germs, bacteria, molecules and atoms, electromagnetic waves, light, wind . . . We’ve all felt and seen the power of this invisible force. Wind can be harnessed for our good but can also bring wreckage and havoc. Wind can be terrifying.

My mom fell today. This was the third fall in a year and they’ve all brought difficulties that she hasn’t had to suffer before. The first fall was from a ladder at work, causing neck, back and foot pain. The second was a small, tripping fall in a restaurant that wrenched the same foot, making her work in retail excruciating. She’s gone the rounds of doctors and physical therapy, did her exercises and taken her meds, okay, taken some of her meds. Who wants to be doped up all of the time? But today she fell in the parking lot on the way to work. Three days into spring and we get a big snowstorm. Great. I can picture her getting out of her car, clinging to it for as long as possible and then taking a few tentative steps onto the ice. She prayed, she always prays, but bam, she falls on her back hitting her right side, her knee swells up in two places, her whole body quickly grows stiff and painful. “I’m a little stoved up,” she tells me on the phone. “Did you go home and rest?” I demand. “No, no, they needed me.” She still works her shift.

I’m mad about this. Where is her protection? I don’t know a better woman, a better Christian. I can’t blame it on some weakness, except the obvious weakness of growing older; I can’t blame it on some besetting sin. She depends on God for everything in her life. I can blame it on the devil, and I do, but that doesn’t seem to be helping much.

As I’m praying for her today, praying for a miracle again, I start to think about gravity, about the unseen that God has created, and I wonder, “God, couldn’t you lighten the gravity in her small space in the universe for little while? Just enough so that when she walks she feels like she’s floating. You know, take away the external pressure bearing down on her so her body can heal?” Seems a little crazy, but that got me thinking about miracles.

Maybe that’s what miracles are. Maybe miracles are moments when God suspends His natural laws to right some wrong, correct a misstep, bridge a gap between the seen and the unseen. Jesus controlled the wind to safeguard his disciples and prove He was the Son of God. Doesn’t that prove that He’s not opposed to superseding His own natural laws if He wants to? Maybe, just maybe there are new ways to pray for miracles, ways we can barely get our minds around.

The Bible says His grace is sufficient, but what does that mean, really? What does grace look like? What does it feel like? People say all the time that God will give you grace, trust in God’s grace or pray for grace. Which brings to my mind a gritting of the teeth and waiting it out. The Webster’s dictionary says that grace is, “divine love and protection given to man by God.” That sounds good, doesn’t it? But I like some of the other definitions too, “good will, favor . . . a temporary exemption, as from paying a debt, a reprieve.” I like that one. How about, “seemingly effortless beauty, ease, and charm of movement, form, or proportion.” Wow, that sounds a lot like life without gravity.

So Lord, I pray for grace for my mother. Won’t you give her a reprieve . . . a temporary exemption from the laws of gravity? Won’t you put effortless beauty and ease back into her steps? Won’t you proportion her body to be in perfect alignment? Like the twelve she is a disciple, one of Your chosen daughters, so I humbly ask that you protect her from gravity. Lord, won’t You keep her from falling down?