Don’t forget your umbrella…

~They can find no sign of the cancer.

These are the words my sister-in-law used Easter Sunday to update us on her sister’s progress.

Last year, Linda’s sister was diagnosed with an in-operable brain tumor and given days to live. And now…no sign of the cancer.

As Christians, this is what we prayed for. We put her on prayer lists…we knelt in church and at home, lifting her name in prayer…we lit candles. This is exactly what we asked for. And we couldn’t be more surprised. Why is that?

Please know, when I say we, I mean me. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am totally amazed and stunned by the news that the doctors can find no sign of this cancer that threatened to take Linda’s sister from us.

I’m reminded of the story of a farming community in the midst of a drought. The minister of the local church called a special prayer meeting…to pray for rain. Hundreds gathered to pray. Only one woman brought an umbrella.

I know God has the power, the authority to heal and yet do I believe he will do as I ask? I mean, who am I to even ask? Yes, I am His child and yes, He wants me to present all things to him, through prayer and supplication…but hasn’t He done enough already? I mean, He did send His son to die for my sins…should I really ask for more?

I just finished reading the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I always meant to read it when it came out in the ‘90’s, but somehow I never did until tonight. Craig brought it to me this weekend and I guess the time was right.

In the book, the author retells the story* of a centurion that asks Jesus to heal his servant, who is at home and is paralyzed and suffering. Jesus says he will go and heal the man. But the centurion responds,

“Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”

Wow…now that is faith. Just say the word and I know it will be so. You don’t need to come along because I have no doubt whatsoever that it will be exactly as you say it will be.

How often do we pray to God and then return to our daily lives, fully confident that what we have asked will be? I mean, I know sometimes the answer is no. But do we have the faith to accept that whatever the answer, God knows better than we do and that is enough?

Every week during Mass, I kneel and pray these similar words:

“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof; but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

Not my body or mind. But my soul…the part of me that is my connection to God. The part brings peace to my mind and my heart. If my soul is satisfied…is at peace, then the rest of my body will follow. I’m praying to God not to restore me physically or mentally…but to do far more than that. I’m asking him to heal my soul…my very being.

Scripture says that God is our refuge and strength; a present help in times of trouble. That no matter what may be happening around us, He will not fail. I think of that sometimes when people ask me how I am feeling or if the doctor’s have “it” figured out yet. No matter what my physical body is doing, it is indeed well in my soul, because week after week, when I pray it, God heals my soul.

The thing about the centurion story that I love is that Jesus is astonished by the man’s faith. Makes me feel a little better about my reaction. It is what I strive for…and maybe continually pursuing a stronger faith is right where I should be.

In many instances when Jesus healed in the Bible, he said it was for the glory of God; so that others may see and believe. I can’t help but wonder if the centurion’s faith was for Jesus himself…a little “it may not seem like it often, but there are those who get it!”

Maybe this story is meant for someone to hear. Maybe one of you…or someone you know. Quite possibly it’s for someone that none of us realize needs to hear it. And so…to glorify God, whom can you share it with?

One more thing…when I picked up my Bible to find the story of the centurion, I turned first to the concordance in the back and looked up key words to try to find the scripture. I found no reference to it at all. Then, when I opened my Bible to search the Gospels…it opened to this very story.

God is so good. Remember that when you pray to Him. And if you pray for rain, have your umbrella handy.

*Matthew 8:5-13

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