Our story begins in a modest country town in little ol’ Texas, sprinkled with several small churches, a general store, and a children’s grave.
In this little town lived a man named Bill. Middle-aged with a touch of pepper gray.
He ran a successful cattle farm and attended church every other day. In fact, the whole town did. I guess you can say church was there social network.
God was praised and nothing was questioned. You relied on Him for everything.
One day Bill experienced a stomach pain like no other. He went to his pastor asking what to do.
“Pray to God and trust his healing.”
Bill prayed that night asking God for forgiveness and healing.
“Please heal me Lord of this pain. I’ve been faithful to you and not turn to wordly things.”
To pass the time as he waited on the Lord’s healing, he turned on the TV. On the screen was a commercial of a city doctor visiting his little town.
“Dr. Harry is visiting only today! Call this number now for a home visit. His hours are 24/7. Don’t hesitate.”
“Hmmph.” grunted the old man. “All these city dwellers need to stay in their place and leave our God-fearing town alone! I don’t need no wordly thing, I’ve got the Lord almighty. Why don’t more people rely on Him instead?”
Later during the night still in pain, Bill heard a knock.
At the door was Bill’s neighbor. “Tom? What are you doing here so late?”
“Well Bill a cow of mine got loose. You happened to see him?”
“I’m afraid not Tom, my stomach pain’s kept me from going outside to my own cows.”
“You’re stomach still bothering you? Why don’t I take you to the doctor? I’m heading to city tonight. Some company would sure be nice.”
“Afraid not Tom. I’ve prayed to God and I’m relying on Him to heal me.”
“Well alrighty, but maybe a Tylenol will help.”
Time passed but the pain persist. In agony, Bill pleaded with God again for healing.
“Please God! Heal this pain of mine. I’ve read the bible more times than I can count and follow your commandments.”
Shortly after his prayer, Bill heard his truck alarm go off.
In agony, he grabbed his keys and ventured outside.
“Dang kids messing with my truck! Making me get out of my house just so I can turn off this dang alarm!”
After Bill returned home, he went to bed. When he woke, the pain was miraculously gone but he was not in his home anymore.
What should’ve been wooden walls and framed pictures, stood a gate of massive proportions glittering with pearls and diamonds. A luminescent light enveloped the space from what seemed out of everywhere.
A host of angels sang choirs with open arms and what stood in front of him was the Almighty Lord himself.
Afraid and in awe, Bill asked his creator “God? What happened to me? Did I die?!”
“I’m sorry my son. You had an appendix burst. Too much time had passed and your body was in too much agony to keep going.” sadly replied God.
“I don’t get it God. I prayed to you for healing! I begged and pleaded. Was I not faithful to you? Did you not hear my prayers?” exclaimed Bill.
“Don’t you see.” gently said the Lord. ” I did answer your prayers, three times in fact. I was the doctor visiting in town. I was your neighbor Tom stopping by. I was the gang of boys who set your truck off. But you ignored me every time.”
Still puzzled Bill complained “But God, why didn’t you just heal me? Why go through all that trouble when you can do it yourself. After all, you’re God. I’m suppose to rely on you, not man.”
“Don’t you get it!” shouted God.
“If I waved my hand and healed everyone’s woes, what would be the point for humanity?”
“We wouldn’t need doctors, nurses, scientists, therapists, teachers, caretakers, justice workers, and helpers! No one would give a damn! There would be no jobs or schools because I did everything for them. Humans would grow lazy and turn to evil ways for entertainment.”
Bewildered, Bill asked God “I still don’t get it. Everything I was taught was all just a lie?”
“My son, I’m sorry they misled you. We’re all connected. Every human being needs one another. That’s how I created it. This world was not meant to be ignored.”
“Can we go back and reteach them God? They’ll never learn or understand on their own.” asked Bill.
God gently took Bill’s hand and led him through the gates.
“My son, I’ve tried countless times but they refuse to listen. Human beings are like that. They must learn on their own.”