Continuing through Miss Clara’s Prayer: “You Keep Taking Care of Me”
Immediately I thought of this verse:
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
This verse makes me think of a story my father told me about his grandmother. She coordinated Sunday school for her church and worked at a pharmacy until late in life. She eventually moved in with my grandmother’s sister. When my great aunt could no longer meet all her care needs, my grandmother looked for a nursing home. My great grandmother had very little resources and the options in the 1970s were grim. My grandmother came to my father in tears. My father happened to have a good friend who owned a reputable nursing home, so he could get my grandmother the care she needed in a good setting. My father expressed to me that my great grandmother lived a life of faith and dependence upon God. He tells me that her whole life she gave so much to others, and it made him feel so good to be able to do this for her. She died when I was less than five years old, but I remember going to visit her, the sunlight streaming through her window, the cozy afghans in her room, and her beautiful, loving smile and tender eyes.
I live with a blessed awareness that God will meet all my needs, physical, emotional, and spiritual. In our first three years of marriage, my husband and I lived in a studio apartment above a garage in someone’s back yard, eating a lot of beans and rice. It was a pleasant, romantic lesson in learning to be content in all circumstances. Life was simple, but good.
My husband and I both work hard; we have three jobs between us. As I reflect on our needs at this point in our lives, one need weighing on my mind tonight is stable health insurance. And if we are struggling with this problem, countless others are facing the same frustration. In America, people over 65 have Medicare, low-income people have Medicaid, government workers and people who work for large corporations have group insurance, but for all of us who work for small businesses, health insurance has become a time-sucking, very expensive source of uncertainty in our lives. Some of my friends at church have turned to faith-based insurance where you send the check directly to the person in need, but all kinds of things aren’t covered.
Just speaking personally, we pay a substantial chunk of our income toward family health insurance and have done our best to maintain continuous coverage since our days of living in the garage, but our health insurance has been interrupted three times this year. When my daughter had a mild staph infection on her ankle, I spent a total of three hours trying to explain to the doctor’s office, the pharmacist, and the lab why my coverage was coming up as denied even though we fully paid for Cobra services. (And for all this effort, I got to see a physician’s assistant for five minutes and get something like Neosporin.)
In the scheme of things, this is a very minor frustration, but how can something as basic as health insurance be so hard to figure out? I don’t remember my own parents struggling to stay insured, nor do I remember it being such an onerous expense. As I think about these issues, I notice that there’s a curious tension in life between acting responsibly and trusting in God, between rejoicing in God’s provision and learning to be content in all circumstances, between prayer and right action.
Sometimes I look at families with small children out to dinner and wonder about the quiet frustrations they face and just pray over them.
My prayer as I think about our country and how God cares for our needs:
God, who supplies every need, you already know this, but America’s health care system is messed up. It is just not working as it should, especially for those caught in the middle. I don’t know the answer, but greed and power struggles are getting in the way of simple solutions. People are hurting and frustrated; care is interrupted; precious time is wasted for mothers holding sick children in their arms. You are a God of order, not chaos. May all the parties work toward something that functions better. Keep us healthy! I praise you for the ways you have shown me that you will always meet our needs. Teach me to be content in all circumstances (even at the doctor’s office!). Amen.
I could journal just about every verse in Philippians. I keep returning to this book again and again. I just added a simple sticky note this time!
Update (11/4/16) Last night after posting, I had the most vivid dream: I went back to work at the brokerage firm where I worked right out of college. I went to work with my kids who both had a friend with them. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I looked in a mirror and saw that my daughter put a pink bow in my hair and I felt silly, but I went in and talked to the director of research anyway. My kids were too chatty for the office so they were asked to clean the front windows of the sky scraper. The little kids were asked to clean the revolving door. Again, this was just a dream.
I woke up feeling grateful that I can work from home and praying for all those who work at jobs so that their family can have health insurance, but give up so much in the way freedom and flexibility. I prayed that God would grant special grace to families with young children, especially for teachers, nurses, and all those who have to be physically present to get their job done.
There just has to be a better way to organize health insurance.