On the preceding post, God Wrap Up, I expressed the view that I wouldn’t enumerate all the ways God has acted in my life. Within twenty-four hours I was reading a reading designated for the day that made me reconsider that view.
Tobit and Tobiah
In Tobit, chapter 12, Raphael says “Thank God! Give him the praise and the glory. Before all the living, acknowledge the many good things he has done for you, by blessing and extolling his name in song. Honor and proclaim God’s deeds, and do not be slack in praising him.”
In a few posts, I have mentioned how things, usually considered adversities, worked to cause my mental development to go in various ways, such as a more contemplative way because of physical and health limitations, a disposition to eliminate early consideration of life options, and in general- take a haphazard approach to career development.
What Raphael, “one of the seven angels who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord”, said to Tobit and his son, Tobiah, may not have been meant for me, but deserves consideration.
I thought it was miraculous when I escaped a head-on crash as I foolishly tried to pass a string of closely grouped cars while returning from a ballgame by myself during my first or second year of high school. There seemed to be no room to get back in line but I did so with no damage. I didn’t even have a moment to ask for divine help.
During October of 1951 I was on a troop-ship, the Muir, when it encountered a hurricane in the North Atlantic. The ship was over 700 feet long, but it was dwarfed by enormous swells that could well have broken it in two or turned it over. I had plenty of time to ask for help and prepare for the end, for whatever reason, we emerged from the hurricane safely, thank you God.
Our last child was born looking healthy, but within a few hours darkened and gasped for breath due the acute respiratory distress caused by hyaline membrane disease, a usually fatal disease at the time as we knew about it causing the death of President Kennedy’s infant son, Patrick. An incubator with oxygen administration made some improvement in color but gasping continued. Our pastor visited and talked with my greatly distressed wife and said he would go and say a prayer or bless the infant. Within an hour he had departed and a nurse came down to tell her the baby was breathing normally. We verified that and were thankful and greatly relieved.
A few years later my wife had a large and deep cut on her leg when a large glass bottle a clerk accidentally pushed off a counter hit a shelf and broke on the way to her leg. The injury seemed to be healing normally but in a week or so it was becoming more painful and walking was difficult. One day it seemed to be getting especially worse in soreness or pain, swelling, heat and redness. I went upstairs to check on the kids but mostly to worry and think how impossible it would be for me to raise three kids by myself. I was reminding God of the graces we were promised that accompanied the sacrament of matrimony. Within ten minutes I was back downstairs with my wife and found that the redness was gone the temperature was normal. She said she had been praying also when I went upstairs. The symptoms were gone except for the scar which persists to this day.
Two similar instances a few years apart between 35 and 45 years ago when I was at my wit’s end trying figure out what to do about a problem I was having with my wife. I went out to do some yard work and think about it. I was tearfully explaining my problem to Jesus and offering my suffering in support of his. I immediately calmed down and could no longer remember the problem. It seemed like it meant he had suffered enough for both of us and didn’t need mine. For whatever the reason, I was grateful.
Guidance or Answers?
God has a special role for each of us. I began to see the way he had shaped my life after a half a century of life. It is apparent now that the purpose of this blog is a step along the way. It became much clearer when I took the 2007 discovery of my bone marrow disorder as an indication that I didn’t have much time to complete my intended evolution book to show scientists evolution and belief in God are not only compatible but desirable. A version was completed in late 2009, about a year past the limit of time I thought my myelodysplasia would give me. A bleeding problem cessation in early 2013 was followed by my beginning this blog due to my thinking it was God’s intercession or message for me to get busy and do it.
So now I have reached a point where it is time for me to pause and make some end of life preparations before they are left in a mess for our heirs. If any energy is left after that I may blog haphazardly or work on adapting them to an internet book or more.
Joseph Engemann Kalamazoo, Michigan June 13, 2017