Last night Beve and I spent four hours at the after-hours medical clinic with Thyrza who's grown increasingly ill this week. Our day just wouldn't be complete without a trip to some kind of medical building or another these days, apparently. That's how it feels, anyway. One of the things the doctor ordered was a chest x-ray, and we had to stick around while the results were read and put online for him to read. So we were sitting in the small examining room when he turned the computer monitor around to show us the pictures of her lungs. And what appeared were compelling images--and very helpful images for what I want to share today. Fortunately, Thyrza's lungs were clear, but that wasn't what drew our attention. It was the sight of her ribs and backbone.
I've seen x-rays before, plenty of them. Over the course of mothering my son, there have been plenty of opportunities to grow familiar with the way bones look in that shadowy imagery of x-ray. J's shoulder alone has been x-ray-ed so many times, neither of us could probably count them, but I'd guess if one radiologist was in charge of all of them, he'd have bought a boat by now. Anyway, despite the weakness in J's shoulder, his bones have always had the appearance of strength to them, even when he was an 11-year-old boy. There's substance within the shadow, if that makes sense. Health and youth and strength.
And just last month, when we looked at the x-ray of Grampie's partial hip reconstruction, it was still the power of his frame that stood out in those pictures. The largeness of that new non-bone growing onto bone, by muscle and tendon and the amazing rejuvenating ability of the human body (even at almost 87)--that's what stood out on those pictures.
But last night, Thyrza's 93-year-old frame appeared to be the substance of lace. Fragile and gossamer, woven by silk worms. When the doctor pointed out how porous those bones are now, she said, "But I take calcium every day." "Thank God you do," he told her. "Imagine how they'd look if you didn't." No wonder she's so cold all the time, I thought. No wonder she can hardly walk, I could hardly imagine how that backbone could hold her up.
Later, as I was about to sleep, and talking to God about the evening, and thinking about the words He might give me for this blog today, I got to thinking about Thyrza's bones and prophesy. There have been many men and women who have made predictions about the world. And those predictions have either come true or not, but for the most part, they are the substance of a spider's web. They catch some people within, but are also easy to destroy by the flick of a human hand. They have no power or foundation behind them. No ability to last. Because they are created by the smallest of threads--a human's imagination.
But prophecy in the Word of God has two functions. One is local. That is, God is always speaking to His people where they are, in that time, for that moment. And the other function, which happens far less often, is to predict the future. We must be clear about the less often part. God is far less interested in telling us about the future than we are in learning about it. He cares about today. He wants our bones strong. He wants our foundation sturdy. Healthy and true. Only now and then does He speak about tomorrow, and only then obliquely.
That said, the future-predicting Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, which abound, are essential proofs, to let His people know beyond a shadow of a doubt that The ONE is THE ONE. And even then, He predicted that some would not know Him. Yep, God knew it all.
So tomorrow--the Virgin Birth. And the one who had the only incontrovertible proof anyone ever had. Mary. Think about that, if you'd like for this day.
And think about how the bones of those Messianic prophecy are strong and true and will hold. Have held. They stand the test of time and point to only one person through-out all of history. God knew we needed sturdy bones.