"The Uncle, the Character, the Provision"
I recently experienced several weeks of minor illness. A stomach virus, a cold, and even pink-eye, of all things. I missed a few services as a result, and stayed far away from people in the meetings I did conduct. Things went fairly well, I think, with the exception of two services in which my voice began to leave me as we introduced the meeting.
This is where Mr. Jerry and Mr. Tiny came to the rescue. Both are regular attendees of our services, and both bless us in different ways. Mr. Jerry is a kindly, soft spoken gentleman who seems like the favorite uncle all of us have, or would like to have. Mr. Tiny, on the other hand, sports a twinkle in his eye, and could serve as the model for the term "character". He's always ready with a quip and a smile, and I find myself rarely thinking of him without breaking into a grin. Mr. Jerry and Mr. Tiny are completely different guys, but we consider both to be wonderful blessings we are grateful to know.
Back to the rescue. As my voice cracked in those meetings, the uncle and the character, as it were, both reached into their pockets and brought forth throat lozenges. Mr. Jerry carries peppermints of the traditional variety. Mr. Tiny takes the matter further, bearing the more medicinal versions that contain eucalyptus or some such herbal remedy. I responded to both benefactors, and while I don't like to speak or sing with hard lozenges in my mouth (might break a tooth!), I had no choice in the meetings I reference. I made it through the services with coughing abated and no broken tooth. I was even able to sing enough to lead hymns, and I have absolutely no doubt that without Mr. Jerry, Mr. Tiny, and their lozenges, this would not have been the case.
I share this with you to direct our attention to the true Benefactor of the situation. On the way to services mentioned, I knew very well that I might have some problems with my voice. I prayed accordingly, and asked the Lord to administer His help and enabling. I suppose I expected His answer to come in some form of spiritual touch upon my vocal cords, or the grace to simply get through the meeting even if I sounded like Kermit the frog had made a home in my throat. As mentioned, it didn't happen that way. The Lord rather had two of His servants on hand, with medicinal treatments that sent Kermit packing, and Glen preaching! (and singing!). Thank you, Lord! He answered my prayer for aid and enabling, but in a way that seemed natural rather than supernatural.
Our Heavenly Father often works in such a manner. That is, He performs supernatural acts in ways that seem completely natural. In a way, they are. The Lord Jesus Christ actually serves as the chief example of such Divine wisdom and working. Only a few recognized Him as who He was because He lived most of His life in such an outwardly natural and mundane fashion. His own brothers did not know He was the Christ of God (John 7:5). Certainly every moment of His earthly sojourn bore the supernatural reality of the living God. However, it often did not appear that way. The Lord Jesus looked and seemed like a babe, a boy, and an ordinary man. Only the spiritual illumination of the Holy Spirit revealed Him as God's supply of salvation to those with eyes to see and hearts to respond (Matthew 16:17).
Our Lord will often come to us in ways so veiled that we will miss Him if we expect otherwise. Mr. Jerry and Mr. Tiny reminded me of this truth as they and their treatments served as blessed answers to prayer. Those lozenges seemed no less a provision than had the Lord appeared to me physically and announced, "I'm touching your throat, Glen, so you can proceed!" As far as I'm concerned, He did that very thing, but in the "walk by faith, not by sight" manner we must expect in our present lives (II Corinthians 5:7).
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
Weekly Memory Verse
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
(I Peter 4:10)