It was a five-day brain tumor. I find myself saying that a lot since I started out on this trip to Alabama. Everyone keeps asking me how Tim is doing.
“Fine,” I say. “It was only a five-day brain tumor.”
Their mouths go slack and a flicker of horror shades their eyes. They don’t know whether I’m kidding or not, so they don’t know if they should laugh or rant. Usually they do both.
They say something like, “Oh, thank goodness.”
Then they follow that with “Ohmygosh! How awful.”
Not awful that it wasn’t a tumor after all, but horrified that we were ever told it was a tumor to begin with.
I understand their reactions so I usually say something funny to let them know that everything is really okay and that Tim is really just fine and that, yes, we are so relieved that it was only a five-day brain tumor or really not a tumor at all, just a misdiagnosis and then I think of all my friends who really are suffering.
I told someone that I pray to my friends in heaven because I know as many people there now as I do here and it seems wrong to quit talking to someone just because I can’t see or hear them. That doesn’t mean they can’t see or hear me.
So like the other night when I was upset about something I told Gordon he’d better be rallying the troops and put them to work on my behalf. And I swear he did it too.
But that’s another story.
What I’ve been pondering is this notion of a test. Was Tim’s five-day brain tumor a test of sorts? Like when God told Abraham to take his son to the altar and slice his belly open, or however it was he was supposed to do the blood-letting?
Because I am a teacher and am married to a teacher, I think of tests as assessments. A means for one’s supervisor to measure one’s ability and/or knowledge.
But God doesn’t need such a measure. He knows us. Knows our abilities and lack thereof. He doesn’t need us to prove ourselves to him. He knows us better than we know ourselves.
So if God was testing Abraham it wasn’t for God’s benefit. And if God was testing Tim or me, it wasn’t so he could know us better.
I think it was so that we would know who we were in that moment. God knew who we would be. We were the ones who didn’t know.
God isn’t a great puppeteer jerking this chain or that one, trying to figure out what will move us this way or that.
He is the Master teacher.
Someone sitting back and saying, “See? I knew you could do this. Here, let me help you with that.”