I had been working around the house all morning and really needed to get outside for a little while. I decided to water the lawn, which, with our current drought in California, is probably some kind of major crime. But the lawn had not been watered in months and I needed to get outside, so I figured I would risk the jail time and water anyway.
As I was walking out the door I remembered coming across a page of prayer requests while cleaning the table. I decided it would be a good idea to water and pray at the same time, so I grabbed the paper and headed outside.
I started in at the top of the page. There was line after line about people in desperate need. Some had recently been diagnosed with cancer. Others were entering the final stages of that dreaded disease. For one person it seemed like everyone in the family had lost their jobs. There were two cases of brain tumors: one in an older person and one in a very young child. I prayed for each one. As I did I became keenly aware of how much people around me are quietly suffering. Of course I had those kinds of questions as to why God doesn’t just heal them all. I know the technical answers but I still feel their pain and know that God does too. I was also grateful that God has spared me and my family from that level of suffering.
Then as often happens when I pray, my mind began to wander. I thought that maybe God didn’t test me like that because I couldn’t handle it. My mind suddenly switched to the James Bond movie Beckie and I have recently watched, and the scene where the bartender fixes him a martini, shaken not stirred. As random thoughts go, I was back to the prayer list, that long list of people going through trials and personal tragedies, things that could shake a person’s faith to the core. But that is not God’s purpose. God puts us through trials to stir our faith not to shake it. Stirred, not shaken.