Barb and I visited Sue yesterday evening. Sue has been laid up for five weeks in a wheelchair after an operation on her ankle, her second time under the knife. The first surgery went badly, and following two months being housebound last year, Sue did research and found a better surgeon—she hopes. The verdict won’t be in for another two months when she puts some weight on the foot. Meanwhile, her 80-year-old mother is taking care of her.
All of which is to say that Sue can’t cook or clean or make beds or do laundry or go to the supermarket—or do any of the things we do that validate our existence and our worth. Worse than that, she is dependent on her mother, husband, siblings, and friends for all the most elementary needs.
This got me to thinking about life. If life were about getting things done, Sue would be fresh out of luck. And so that leads me to the brilliant conclusion that life must be about something other than getting things done. It mustn’t be that whoever logs the most work under his belt is the one God favors most. It wouldn’t be right or make sense that God is giving Sue so little opportunity to be an accomplisher, if the main thing in life is being an accomplisher—though we know for a fact that God likes hard work:
“… work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (1 Thessalonians 4:11–12, ESV).
The visit to Sue was just the thing to remind me of what God prizes even above hard work—and above just about everything else you can name. It is faith, aka trusting God, aka confidence in His love, aka waiting for His help, aka settled expectation of His deliverance. This is what the saints of old were commended for, whether they labored or were stranded in pits or dungeons.
Once in a while I welcome the reminder of the basics.