Friday, October 18, 2013

Pentecost 22 C - Luke 18:1-8

Luke 18:1-8
I've been driving to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas almost every day since October 3rd to pray persistently with the family of David Ball who will need a new heart at some point in the future. For now a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) is doing the heavy lifting while the Baylor ICU medical staff works around the clock to keep David in the land of the living and the family waits and prays in the land of the loving. The lesson learned in the roller coaster environment of an extended ICU stay is that persistent prayer is not consistent. There are moments when hope holds and confidence is high followed by times when fear creeps in to cast shadows of doubt followed by times of frustration with the antiseptic nature of medical language followed by times when one is too tired to pray at all. And then the cycle repeats itself and in some ways you become accustomed to the rhythm of this upended life even though you cannot imagine how. The widow goes before the uncaring judge again and again because there is nowhere else she can go in the same way one occupies a space in an ICU unit when just beyond the double doors the life you love hangs in the balance. The lesson learned is not that God requires perseverance before answering prayer but that persistent prayer, which is the ability to speak our need into that which is beyond our ability to control, is itself an answer to prayer. Listen. We all want prayer to be a magic wand that fixes everything with a flick of the wrist and an abracadabra but truth is there is nothing more powerful than the person who holds onto faith in the face of events that neither fear God nor respect people. So if the Son of Man returning were to look for faith on earth he’d find it in Sue Ball, a woman of enduring strength and remarkable courage who does what has to be done just because that is what you do when your husband needs a new heart.

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