“When God is about to do any of His great works, He first silently prepares all for it. Not only the good seed to be scattered, but the breaking up of the soil for its reception is His. Instrumentalities, unrecognized at the time, are silently at work; and, together with the good gift to be bestowed on His own, He grants them the felt need and the earnest seeking of it. Thus prayers and answers are, as it were, the scales of grace in equipoise.”
“Oh Father… Please….”
The prayer tumbled from my lips as a sigh escaped my soul. How many times have I prayed this prayer? How many times have I begun in the warmth of a sunrise watch, only to end in the chilly silence of another weary night? And today? Would this day be the same as all the rest?
But then — His Spirt breathes remembrance: I am alloted only the vision of today, and the eyes of man are not given to heavenly sights. We do not behold all that awaits. We cannot know all that is done on our behalf. Doubt, we say? The Greeks demanded wisdom; the Jews, for a sign (1 Corinthians 1:22). But Paul taught us to live from something greater: faith (2 Co 4:16-5:10). His example of faith is part of the legacy he left us.
He had been told; warned that he went on to die in Jerusalem (Acts 21:8-16). He did not expect more, was not surprised at meeting death in this way. And have not we received the same? “In this world you will have trouble” is the birthright of mortal Christianity (John 16:33). Why then, do we react with shock and horror? Has it not been promised to us? Shall we seek to mitigate the horror of the one promise with the pleasant aspect of another? Is this what Paul did? No. By no means, no. He did not claim healing or deliverance. He claimed the death he had been called to bear. And he did so joyfully. He did so by faith.
“Faith.” His lyric composed, boldly written under blinding shadow of death.
“Faith.” The anthem of another weary day.
“Faith.” His hymn upon hearing his name on death’s dark agenda.
“Faith.” The rhythm of his heart and the cadence of the headsman’s step.
“Faith.” The ballad he sang on the way to the block.
His sweetly hushed aria as he lifted his heart and lowered his head to die.
And it was the lasting remnant of a whispered strain as unworthy earth swelled to receive blood that would ever attest that triumphant denouement: “Faith.”
I know there will come a day when I shall see the hidden ways His hand has moved in my life. And I know that day will be a day of shame for me. Shame that I doubted Him. Shame that I so tenaciously demanded wisdom and miracles when His Word should have sufficed. Shame that I listened to the serpernt’s forked message; that the two-sided “wisdom and miracles” was on my tongue, on my heart, and on my mind instead of the great unifier of them both — faith.
The prayer and the answer, balanced on the scales of grace in equipoise.
 Edersheim, A. 1997. Bible History : Old Testament. Seven volumes between bound two covers. (55). Logos Research Systems, Inc.: Oak Harbor