I nearly guffawed in the middle of the x-ray room.
My loud and hearty laugh surprised the technician. He probably asks this question countless times a day. It is his duty to inquire of nearly every woman who enters these examination quarters as they have some body part or limb scanned for signs of illness, hemorrhage, fracture and more.
“Could I be pregnant?” the man asked.
I assured the young man that I was not with child and so he proceeded to send ultraviolet rays through my lungs to screen for tuberculosis.
Don’t worry. I don’t have it.
One of the routine measures of applying for residence in South Africa – temporary or permanent – is to have a tuberculosis scan. I have lost count of how many times my lungs have been x-rayed over the course of our mission career in South Africa – at least eight times for sure. Sometimes I groan about undergoing this procedure yet again. However, there are other times I say prayers of gratitude for these scans. I interact with many people in this part of the world who have contracted tuberculosis and other serious respiratory infections. These tests continue to confirm my good health. Praise God!
Yes, these tests may seem to be a waste of time and money at times. However, with every nonsensical or crazy-making hoop that we must jump through on earth, there is still opportunity to see the goodness of our God in and through it.
I mean it.
For the past two years I have been waiting for my South Africa Permanent Resident Permit to be processed. During the course of this time, every member of my family has received their permits. We are grateful for this affirmation and approval for our family. These permanent resident permits assist us in both comprehensive and tangible ways as we serve and minister in southern Africa. Yet, because I am still waiting for my permanent resident permit, I must apply for another temporary permit before my current temporary permit expires. I must take this step to remain in the country. There is no permanent-resident-permit-in-process form or status in South Africa. Therefore, I recently had another tuberculous scan and thus, was given an opportunity for a good, a really feel-good laugh.
This young man must have thought I looked much younger than I am! 😊
So, in the midst of my uncertain time, there is reason for praise and wonder!
Check this out:
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done….
New International Version, Psalm 105: 1-5a
Too often I find myself in a place of want – instead of a place of praise and wonder.
How do I know?
Just check out my prayer life – the bulk of my prayers focus on petition, petition, petition.
Scanning my prayer journal, I read one request after another after another after another after another. And I pray into these petitions nearly every day.
But the verses above cause me to pause and ask, “What are the wonders my God has done?”
What are His wonders in my life?
So, I began to list my wonders:
My Heavenly Father, my Lord Jesus Christ, my Counselor and Holy Spirit – my praise and my adoration
John – my faithful, amazing, magnificent husband
Micah – our delightful first-born son who has begun serving with Pais Australia
Jake – our loving second-born son whose loyalty inspires
Caleb – our third-born son who continues to be our joy-boy
My parents – who love our family so well
My siblings, Kris, Gordon and David and their families – who inspire me and who I am so stinkin’ proud
John’s family – I’m blessed to have married into such a special family and have them part of my life for over 20 years
Micah’s birth – an emergency c-section saved both Micah’s and my life
My dad – free from the prison-like confines of alcohol for over 30 years
John’s ankle – a cutting-edge surgery and procedure saved his ankle
Caleb’s hemangiomas – over seven surgeries performed before age 3 and one would never know Caleb had had this birth defect
Micah, Jake and Caleb – all three of our children have committed their lives to Jesus Christ
Friendships – I have amazing, amazing, and amazing friends that I love and cherish
Prayer Supporters – we ask our prayer support team to pray and they do – every single time – we know we are not alone in southern Africa. They are with us.
ECD Ministry – for over ten years I’ve had the privilege of helping principals and teachers grow spiritually in Christ and to grow in their understanding of strong education principles
Health – I’ve been cancer-free for almost six years!
Autism – Jake and Caleb’s autism has expanded my view of God’s love, God’s care, and God’s purpose
Protection – Our family has been shielded and saved from intruders in our home and on our property over ten different times
Teachers, Therapists, and Advocates – Our boys have been loved well by many significant teachers and professionals, providing what we needed at pivotal moments in education, support, and health
Our Mission Team – though many have come and gone through the years, we are grateful for every single relationship and the dedication and love they each have for Jesus Christ.
South Africa – we love our life here
Zimbabwe – we love this persevering people with every ounce of our hearts
Answered Prayers – yes, answered, answered, answered prayers – my God has acknowledged me so many, many, many times as He displayed His Wonders, His Presence, and His Purpose in significant and timely ways by responding to my prayers and I count on Him to do it all again…
Even as I continue this two-year and counting wait for my permanent residence permit, I choose to remember the many marvels and miracles my God has done. I praise Him. I glorify Him. I honor Him. My Lord has been with me and blessed me time and again and I thank Him.
His wonders are my wonders.
Friends, how are you doing in your relationship with God?
Do you feel that the Lord is distant and far away?
Do you fail to sense His presence?
Are you puzzled that the answer to your current prayers seem ignored, tabled, or beyond reach?
Are you frustrated that you are being required to do something again – that seems nonsensical – that could be rectified with one-sought-after act of God?
Is it difficult to pray?
My dear friends, may I encourage you that even in such times as these, when the answers we seek seem incredibly out of reach – like a South Africa permit – please persist in recounting and remembering the wonders of God in your life.
They are all around you!
Call these blessings to mind.
Write them down as I have done.
See and experience the grace of God in your life as your gratitude flows.