And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28
Mama always knew best. I was blessed to have a good mama and daddy. They were everyday people but in so many ways they were anything but everyday. Willing to take on the task of raising eight children, they gave up a lot for us. Daddy worked hard as a jet engine mechanic and mama mostly stayed home and took care of us. Mama was always there when we needed her. I remember one time I was sick with some kind of stomach virus. It was the middle of the night and mama sat down in an old wooden rocker we had and then invited me up into her lap. There she gently held me. It didn’t do much to ease my unhappy stomach but it sure made my heart feel better.
Mama had her own brand of medicine. As best as I can remember, mama was a big believer in “family herd immunity.” In case you are not familiar with that, it is where a certain illness is almost intentionally shared with members of the family, especially siblings. I guess mama thought it was best to get it all over with at one time. And it seemed to work. I remember one of my sisters came down with the measles. Rather than isolate her from my sister and I, mama just put us all together in the double bed in the spare bedroom and waited. Sure enough, we all promptly got the measles and we also all got well about the same time. I’m not sure modern medicine would approve, but that’s ok. It worked for us and mama was always there to help us get better.
However, mama didn’t always use herd immunity. When I was about nine, there was a pretty serious flu outbreak in our north Florida city. I really don’t remember too much about it. I also don’t remember if I became a patient or not. But there is one thing I do remember—I knew what we had in our family wasn’t good and I felt I needed to do something—so I did. I found a piece of paper and a pencil and I made a sign warning others to stay away. The sign said something like this, “Warning. We have the FLEW. Don’t come in.” Even if my spelling wasn’t the best, it still got the message out.
When I was in the second grade, mama’s brand of herd immunity took on a different look. My sister Kathy was not feeling well so mama took her to the doctor and I tagged along. Dr. Smothers was our Ears, Nose, and Throat doctor. He checked my sister out and it was determined that she had tonsillitis. That was something a lot of kids back then seemed to get. Well, Dr. Smothers suggested to mama that perhaps it was time for my sister to get her tonsils out. Again, back then that was the standard treatment. So, mama agreed and then said to Dr. Smothers, “Why don’t we take Dewayne’s out too?” Hmmmm. Herd immunity strikes again. So the doctor says, “Well, Dewayne, what do you say? Would you like to get your tonsils out too?” Now I had no clue what in the world he was talking about. But I think he said something about all the ice cream you wanted and I was in. So a few days later I found myself in the hospital with my sister and the world’s worst sore throat. I’m still not sure if that ice cream was worth it!
I’m sure there are many more stories about mama’s medical skills and judgement but they have slipped from my memories. But let me tell you one thing that hasn’t slipped away, that is the concrete knowledge that my mama loved me. Whether it was the measles, the flu, or getting rid of some pesky tonsils, mama always did what she thought was best for us. Some people probably wouldn’t agree with her medical practices but I know everything she did was for our good. For my good.
And do you know what? I think that is just another way my mama was like God. You see, God is constantly working in my life for my good and His glory. I mean He is working out His purposes but at the center, at the core of it all is—my good. The Bible verse that is so poplar is so true. It goes like this, “all things work together for good, for those who love God, the ones who are called according to His purpose.” Like I have said so many times that doesn’t mean that every thing is good but that God can bring good from all things. I know mama loved me a lot but even her love has to pale to the love that God has for me—for us.
Now I am certain if you asked me in the middle of encounter with measles, that truth might have been a little clouded. If you asked me after the surgery to remove my tonsils, well, I probably would have doubted it. But in the long run, looking back—well, my mama loved me and did her best to show that love. So, today if you bump into a hot mess—today if things go south and it is hard…maybe real hard—just remember how much God loves you. You can take it to the bank—it is a sure bet. When life leaves you hurting worse than a bad stomach ache, you just crawl up in His lap and let His strong arms ease the pain away. Then, just nod off and take a nap. You can safely do that because, “He’s got this.”