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By July 18, 2011August 30th, 2022Lost in Translation

I am in Dallas this evening, and it has been a strange day. While I have felt rather serene and peaceful, those around me are struggling with issues that defy our human understanding. It’s like being in the eye of a hurricane. Peaceful in the center, and complete chaos for miles around. And I tend to run a mile a minute and not much grass grows under my feet. So I am used to the whirlwind of life, but today is one of those special days when I feel close to God and I’m taking life one day at a time. Not trying to control anything – just going with the flow; and that is in stark contrast to what is going on all around me.

Janet and I had a great week-end; Friday evening we had dinner with friends, Saturday we played bridge with our next door neighbors and yesterday we went to the club to go swimming with three of our grandchildren. All in all, a really busy, but satisfying, summer week-end. As I left for Dallas this morning, I hopped in the car and just enjoyed the drive to the airport. I went through security without incident, which is rare for me, and the flight was on time. On the Dallas end, the lady who picks me up each trip for the ride to the office was early, we had a great talk and I arrived at my client’s office – 103 degrees outside – cool, calm and collected. I love it when I have days like this.

But since yesterday afternoon, several things have happened to others that have really disturbed me. It all started with Janet at the pool with the kids. Apparently, Janet moved her arm wrong while trying to swim with the kids and it appears that she may have torn her rotator cuff in her right shoulder. She actually awoke in extreme pain last night – I was really worried about her, as it isn’t often that I have known her to complain, much less wake up from pain. Of course, she is just now recovering from the broken finger she suffered in May, surgery and all, when the dog leash inadvertently tangled around her left ring finger. And now, it’s another case of wait and see to determine the extent of the damage to her shoulder. The doctor has given her a window of two weeks to see if it gets better. Hopefully, God will be merciful and she will recover without further pain or inconvenience – and without another surgery.

And how about our remarkable friend Pat? If you don’t know about her, you can catch up by reading “All Heart” back on March 18th. She is a wonderful lady who has become a dear friend of ours, and we are fond of saying that “Pat Rocks”. Well, she has gone on a six week trip with a dear friend of hers, and ours, and while she was gone, she received news that her husband of 42 years passed way. Without going into detail, the funeral home has screwed up, and wasn’t ready for the protocols that must take place before final plans can be completed. She is understandably upset… And her son was killed in an auto accident last fall – how much can one person take? And as you may already know, Pat has her own physical issues to deal with. What does God’s mercy look like to her?

And as I was sitting down to write this evening, in the club at the Renaissance Hotel where I am staying, I received an email from our nephew’s wife Tracy that her uncle has been diagnosed with a very rare, serious form of cancer that has a rather low survival rate. And he is getting ready to have surgery and then undergo a year of intensive treatment in the hope of beating this horrid disease. She has written asking for prayer, and a seeming miracle, for his survival. Will God be merciful to him, and the family?

I thought about writing on the topic of human plans; and how our plans can change in an instant – because life is so fragile. But instead, I felt compelled to write about mercy – I can’t tell you why, but I have been sitting here, in the midst of a busy room, head down, thinking, and praying, about all of these situations. And I find myself asking God for mercy…. not for me, although that would be nice, but for all these others; Janet, Pat and Tracy.

And in my own broken state, there is nothing else I can do for any of them, except pray – for God’s mercy – and that’s defined as “undeserved grace”. Tonight’s passage may not be of much consolation, but it’s the best I can do. Paul recounts to us, from Romans 9:14-16, “What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” And that pretty much says it all. Just ask Job….. He went through ordeals as well, and it is hard to understand why he lost all he lost.

I even looked up the verse in the Greek, and the thing that really stood out to me is the last little phrase “but on God’s mercy.” Because in English, the word “but” isn’t strong enough. In the original it reads more like “it has nothing to do with man’s desire or effort – instead, go the opposite direction and realize that it totally, without fail, depends only on God’s mercy.” It is much more emphatic that we think. In other words, God’s mercy is the one and only thing to consider in these situations. Our efforts or desires won’t change anything.

While I wish that we could impact outcomes, my encouragement tonight is to re-affirm that we serve a merciful God. We don’t have all the answers, and many times don’t even know all the questions. But God is faithful. And my prayer is that God will answer the prayers for those mentioned here tonight, as well as their loved ones and all the other unspoken prayer requests that we lift up to Him – and I pray these things in Christ’s holy name. Amen.


  • DJ Vogel says:

    Mercy is a powerful word in the Bible.
    We as humans always want God to say ‘yes’ or to ‘fix it’. Then we add at the end of the sentence ‘God’s will be done’
    I am so glad that you’re a Prayer Warrior for all the people you know and that your prayer group is there for you and others also.
    Personally I know you have lifted up my family and I, and I thank you!
    Peace does exist in the midst of the storm.

    • Thanks, Diana. The post has only been up a little while and there have already had two comments. It must have struck a nerve tonight. Anyway, thanks for the encouragement and for continuing to be a part of the TBTB family.

  • Jill says:

    It amazes me how you are still able to write such a beautiful post when storms are brewing. God uses you in so many positive and impacting ways Dad! I guess I never really knew that mercy is defined as “undeserved grace”. Taking Pat for example, she is one of the most deserving people I know. I pray that God’s mercy is showered upon the people mentioned tonight.

  • Tracy says:

    Thank you for this Uncle Scott, I have been repeating these prayers all day long. My Uncle has made it through surgery, and the tumor has been removed. It was close to several nerves and arteries, so if any is left, it is very small. While he is in considerable pain, my heart is healing, as he has made one step to recovery. Prayers and well wishes are so comforting.

    • Tracy-
      I am pleased that the surgery is over, and now it is on to the next step. And thanks for becoming a follower of the blog. I think you will find a great community of people who will pray for you and encourage you and welcome you into the fold. Please feel free to comment and add your thoughts. I know how you love to write!

  • Tracy SChorle says:

    Thank you for your prayers about my Uncle’s surgery. His
    surgery took about 4 hours and they spent nearly 2 hours after that
    stitching him. His incision is down his entire rib cage and then
    across this abdomen (like an L) and then is also down his entire
    thigh. They were able to remove all of the cancer they believe but in
    the process they removed a nerve and muscle (now replaced by a nerve
    and muscle in his thigh) – he will have a permanent limp from this;
    this is in addition to permanent swelling in the opposing leg as a
    result of the lymph nodes being removed. Please continue your
    prayers, today they will move him and force him to sit and stand. In
    the words of my Dad he has “never seen anyone or anything in pain
    like that.” Today is going to be a rough day. On the bright side,
    the prayers are working and the surgery is a success and was
    complication free. I realize that you don’t really know my Uncle, but
    you have no idea how helpful it is to know that others have him in
    their thoughts.

    • Tracy-
      Thanks for keeping us up to date on your uncles’s condition. I am sure a number of our folks are praying for him, and the rest of your family as you deal with this health crisis. Please continue to update us; and allowing us to come beside you during this time of need.

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