by Mike Ratliff
And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” (Mark 8:15-21 ESV)
Last week my mother was hospitalized again. The diagnosis now is congestive heart failure. We traveled down there the weekend before this and tried to get the medical people at the skilled nursing center where she is staying to contact her doctor since her ankles were very swollen. Nothing happened. Thursday last week her lungs nearly filled up with fluid and she was having very bad chest pains. She tried to get help, but since her stroke, she is very hard to understand. Somehow, she had the staff there place a call to my sister. She talked to the nurse taking care of her, but he said her vitals looked okay. However, when the day people came in on Friday they panicked because she could barely breathe and was in a great deal of pain. They rushed her to the hospital. She got very good medical care there and now her lungs are much better and she is not having chest pains. We rushed down to OKC from KC on Friday and spent the weekend with her.
When I found out how she tried to get help on Thursday, but was unable to get anyone to understand what was going on I became very upset. I was very close to going to the place that is supposed to be taking care of her to set them straight, but my sister took care of that in a very diplomatic way. I prayed about it all weekend and from that I came to have a great deal of peace as I trusted my mother in God’s care. As I meditated about the grace of God and how He takes care of us beyond our comprehension I felt ashamed for thinking I could make a difference by intervening, et cetera. It was then that I remembered our post last week titled A Little Leaven Leavens the Whole Lump.
When our Lord told His disciples to beware of the leaven of the false teachers of Israel, they became confused and thought He was lecturing them on the their lack of planning in forgetting to bring bread with them on the trip. He then made it clear to them to stop fretting about things like having enough bread. Why? He feed five thousand with five loaves and four thousand with seven loaves with a great deal left over. God takes care of His people. He is our provider. He manages the details of our lives. Instead of worrying about food, shelter, and clothing we need to be about drawing near unto God, digging into His Word, prayer, and obedience.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:31-34 ESV)
I mediated on this in light of my mother’s health problems and the level of care she is receiving. God is ultimately in charge of our health. His sovereignty extends to all parts of our lives. He is the one who will take my mother home when He is ready. We must pray that her care will improve. Her doctor was very concerned about what happened; I pray that he will make sure this does not happen again. I pray that those nurses who care for her everyday will be very professional and give her the care she needs.
As God took me through this I could see very clearly how He is using it all to work in all of our lives to draw us closer to Him and each other. I have talked more with my sister in the last couple of months than I have in years. We are seeing clearly that it is God who will determine when each of us dies and goes home to be with Him, not the medical profession.
Please continue to pray for my parents and our families. My dad is still in a very nice Alzheimer’s unit not very far from where my mother is right now. It would all be very sad and depressing if it was not for the joy and peace given to us as we trust in God and accept His will as being perfect in every case.
Soli Deo Gloria!