Merely Happy?

February 27, 2013

“As he passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.
And His disciples asked Him, Rabbi, who sinned…Jesus answered,
“It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents;
but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
John 9:1-3

On my first Sunday on church staff in our county an energetic, sparkling lady shorter that even short me came up and said, “ I prayed you’d be the one (new staff)—I just knew you were God’s choice for us.” Confession: I think I brushed it off as a nice thing to say. I was so wrong.

Every church should have a Pat. You want Pat to pray for you. Pat is a fervent, constant prayer and Pat walks with God.

“I wanted to expand on our talk Sunday about being happy and cheerful…” she recently wrote in a letter to me. She quoted Beverly Sills, the great singer, “I’m not happy. I’m cheerful, there’s a difference. A happy person has no cares at all but a cheerful person has cares but has learned how to deal with them.”

Pat lives with constant pain and the way she deals with it in a word is, Jesus. She will honestly tell you how she is when asked, but she doesn’t end with the pain. In her letter she wrote, “God is blessing me so much I can hardly contain myself. In the midst of pain comes a deep sense of God’s love which He showers on me in a variety of ways. I trust you are experiencing that great love.” Now, to know Pat you would know she lives this way because she is immersed in Scripture, prayer, and service—entrusting herself to God in everything.

When I called Pat to get permission to write about her I asked for an update about her involvement with the youth ministry. Did I mention she’s retired but she meets with the youth each Wednesday night? She maintains and responds to a prayer card system—and has for thirteen or fourteen years. She’s on her third or fourth youth pastor now. She did admit the kids prefer to text requests these days. So she bought a phone just for that purpose.

Suffering has a way of becoming our master. It shapes us, controls us, consumes us. It makes us trust strange gods. John Piper, in his book, Don’t Waste Your Cancer, points to the goodness and greater purposes in suffering and says, “We waste our cancer if we seek comfort from our odds rather than from God.” Pat expresses appreciation for medical tests and help, but her words are praise to God. Worship not worry; wonder at a merciful Father not whining. God is at work in her “…so that the works of God might be displayed…”

When it is my turn to suffer for God, I want Pat to pray for me.


1 Response to “Merely Happy?”

  1. 1 Heid Jourdan March 1, 2013 at 3:40 am

    John, it is so nice that you honored Pat this way – and in doing so, honored our Father. She is one in a million!


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