My mother has a nice shiner on her left eye from falling and hitting her cheek on the corner of her nightstand. I was curious about that, since I have prayed that God would protect my mother, specifically from falls and from setting the house on fire.
Last week, on the first day of the first snow of the year, my son kissed a telephone pole with my car, which I found out today was totaled. I had also prayed for the protection of my son, specifically while driving.
Now there are a couple of ways to interpret this information. One is to say that God did not protect my mother, and He did not protect my son, and He did not answer my prayers. The other is to ponder how much worse off my mother would have been if she had struck her eye rather than an inch below, and to consider that I did not get a call about my son from the morgue.
This, of course, is the great debate between faith and unbelief. This is where the rubber meets the road (to sustain the car analogy). How are you going to interpret your circumstances? There is nothing more basic to the Christian life than this question.
Today, when my mechanic gave me the bad news, he explained that there is more damage to my Buick than can be seen with the eye. His comment reminded me that the same is true in spiritual realities: How many times have the angels run interference (Hebrews 1:14) for my mother at the stove, or as she walks? How many times has my son been snatched from the jaws of a fatal wreck?
This little meditation is not so much about protection or about prayer as about a way of seeing. The only way allowable for us is faith. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to Him must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who seek Him. That is the condition. The person of faith looks at her wrecked car and declares, in the hearing of the principalities and powers: "God spared my son's life." She looks at her mother's shiner and says, "God spared her eye."