In a way everyone had been right, and everyone had been wrong. God had proven without a doubt that He was perfectly capable of performing a miracle of healing any time He chose. And the time He had chosen had been one when many, many witnesses could experience a glimpse of His glory that they could not deny, and that they would never forget.
At the same time, He had also made it very clear that He was in charge of the lives of His people. If He wanted a man to live, that man would live until his work was complete. If He wanted to call that man home, no one could keep him in this world – nor should anyone want to. “Let God be God” was to become the unofficial motto of the choir, if not the whole church.
God had also proven that there were worse things than physical problems, and there were better things than instant healing. During the Walkers’ tribulations, the church had undergone a transformation. Whereas before there had been no lack of opinions (and opinionated persons to express them), there were now honest questions and open minds. More importantly, there were open hearts.
Mr. Walker had told the youth group once that when he was a teenager, he had had all the answers but had somehow grown more ignorant since then. Recognizing his wisdom, the teens had realized that sometimes it’s better to have sincere questions than too many answers, and that God is much more concerned with a person’s character and relationship with Him than He is concerned that a person get everything “right.” Even if such a thing were possible, “getting it all right” would inevitably lead to pride and self-sufficiency, the first stage in the downfall of a church.
And so, in the months following Mr. Walker’s accident, Faith Chapel had become a place where there were many more questions than answers, but where the questions did not seem to bother people as much as they had before. There was the peace of knowing that a loving God knew everything, and that if and when they needed an answer, it would be there for them. Meanwhile, the questions and mysteries were marvelous opportunities to exercise faith. And of course, in the Christian life faith is what it was all about.
Thus Faith Chapel, in spite of its tremendous success and every human reason to become arrogant, was actually a kinder, more compassionate church, one in which members bore one another’s burdens and differences of opinion with patience and love enough to puzzle any outside observer. What was even more puzzling was the fact that most people had very little awareness of the change that had taken place. Maybe it was because they were embarrassed and reluctant to think about past destructive attitudes that had been so hurtful to the cause of Christ, or maybe it was because they were too busy planning a bright future to analyze what had happened in the recent past. Or maybe it was that they were simply too close to the situation, and it took someone from the outside such as Liz to see that the real miracle was not what had happened to Mr. Walker but what had happened to the church. Liz wrote in her journal about it in the quiet moments that brought such insights, but she shared these thoughts only with Sean, who marveled with her at the new attitudes they were witnessing. In such a large group of extremely diverse personalities, attitudes like those were nothing short of a miracle.
And the miracles continued…
(Final installment tomorrow – promise!)