"Jesus asked, 'were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?'" (Luke 17.17, NIV).
Somebody owes me a pin like the ones they used to give out in Sunday School for 1-year of perfect attendance. Never actually got one myself but knew a few who did.
My pin would be for staying out of hospitals, even the E.R., for 12 consecutive months.
Now, this might not sound like an accomplishment worthy of a one-year pin, the vast majority avoiding medical attention since last July 20. For me, though, it is a noteworthy anniversary well entitled to honorable mention.
You see, although I quit keeping written records long back, my best recollection is there had been no 12-month sequence since 1995, in which I had not been hospitalized more than once. There are nurses at Union Hospital who still know my name on sight.
Looking back, I can point to one day when my situation changed for the better.
It was a Wednesday evening prayer meeting sometime last spring (and, no, I do not attend prayer meeting anything like faithfully). At the time, my body was tending to go through something of a downhill cascade: Chest pain started almost imperceptible and gradually worsened; as heartbeat slowed, I couldn't think straight; finally, somebody would talk me into going to E.R.
This evening, I could feel that old cycle starting and wished I'd not driven myself. My thoughts ran to, "How can I get home without somebody calling 911?"
Unexpectedly, Pastor Rich stopped what he was doing and said, "How many are tired of seeing David go through this?" They stopped and everyone prayed for me (having people with actual faith apparently helps).
Funny how it goes with the things of God: Prayer is the ultimate no-fault contract. If I pray for you, or you pray for me, and God does not do what we think He should, it's nobody's fault.
"Results," a wise man once said, "are always God's responsibility."
The people prayed, and then they went about life's business of "making other plans." Only I noticed that rather than needing someone to drive me home, I was doing rather well, thank you.
No, I do not think myself completely healed of all maladies. My well-meaning heart would still be described, as "severely damaged," and proving beneficial were certain getting-old lifestyle changes and serendipitously suggested medications deletions. But, I do well enough if I just do just enough. And, I have not had to deal with those melodramatic cascades of symptoms, or E.R.'s, since that otherwise forgotten Wednesday.
This, in my observation, is what the children of God do too often. We face a problem, crisis, need, and beseech God and man for comfort. If results are not immediate, momentous, or miraculous, the tendency is to go on with life. We go about the business of living, doing this and that, eventually simply moving on to the next thing.
Mostly answered prayer involves a sequence of synchronistic factors. Then, one day, you wake up and it's been a year, or two, or five, or 10. It's hard to remember what it was that seemed so important you had to break down and pray about; and what year was that, anyhow?
God moves, changes us and sometimes others, and we fail to look back on what great things God hath done among us and say, "Thank you Father God for giving me a whole new set of problems to seek you about."