So when he woke up feeling healed this morning, and looking almost normal on exam, we all rejoiced. John's relief was giddy. And after church a group of us gathered and prayed prayers of thanks--we are so quick to pray the desperation prayers, but forget to pray the thanksgiving when our worst fears are not realized.
We also had the rare privilege of being on the other side of the thankfulness relationship. Among the many people who come and ask us for help with this or that problem, there was one who was a bit different--a man our age, a good friend, whom we respect highly, who has stood by us in some hard times ourselves. He did not ask for a handout, but was in a desperate state for tuition for one son, and wanted to sell us his land. Scott and I talked about it, and really felt led that this was not a time to draw the line, but rather a time to stand with someone as a friend. We can not solve all his problems, but we could take on the university fees for two years for this one boy. Scott told him carefully what we would commit to do, as a gift and not a land purchase that would impair his ability to survive, and said it was not because we particularly believe in this kid, but because we appreciate his father's friendship with us. I don't think Scott has ever quite experienced a similar reaction: the man burst into tears and hugged and kissed him. I think it was a measure of the anxiety and pressure men feel to provide for their children, and the unexpected nature of the gift.
I suppose the combination of events reminds us that we who have been forgiven much, given much, are called to generosity of spirit and of life. When we live in a sea of need and demand, that is a difficult posture to maintain. A daily discipline of thankfulness to God would probably help. Pray for us to pursue that.