Judy Woodliff by Alan Smith

My first real encounter with Judy was during a personal trial I was enduring: 71 days on the floor of my house, fighting a back ailment. She appeared suddenly, a march wind of possibility thinking on steroids, determined to vanquish my physical and spiritual torment by the sheer determination of her will and conviction of her faith. She entered the house and steamrolled over my doubts and fears that day – “I would be healed,” she assured me. Later, I was.

That visit was so characteristic of Judy and Don; always willing to respond to a need for prayer, a tag team of hopeful expectation and Blessed Assurance.

Her spiritual DNA was endowed with an extraordinary radiance, the overflow of her optimism that good would prevail, that God would ultimately prevail. She had found the pearl of great price and would not be distracted by things of impermanence or matters of insignificance. She possessed a clarity of countenance which stemmed from a lifetime of good decisions. I am always reminded as I read Galatians 5:16, “Live by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature,” that Judy, as well as anyone I had met, grasped that scripture.

She, Don, Holly and I were engaged in a discussion one night when I ventured off into a rambling diatribe  about the fact that the cross was essential because God had to exhaust his wrath against sin. Judy suddenly interrupted with: “And he had to bring many sons and daughters to glory.” “Oh yeah, of course.” I answered. I had been checkmated by Christianity 101. Humbled, I felt like one of those fish you release that swims in concentric circles on the surface of the water, a pathetic sight, the victim of TRUTH. Judy winked at me, as would a sister who was not quite ready to surrender her right to weigh in on matters of faith or relinquish her position as a slightly older sister. I stood corrected.

As the battle raged last week I’m reminded that the war between the kingdoms is intense at times, that there are casualties, that life is not a given. I must acknowledge that my failed expectations are often the result of my faulty expectations, that events unforeseen by me, are not so by God, that the reason for his permissions are often veiled. According to Isaiah 57:1,”the righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart, devout men are taken away and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.”

It has been said,”an infinite mind can only be perceived by itself.” That’s especially true in circumstances like these.

In the story of Samson, his father Manoah, approaches the angel of the Lord and  inquires,”What is your name so that we can honor you when your word comes true?”
The Lord answers “Why do you ask my name, it’s beyond understanding’ or more specifically, according to the Hebrew; Wonderful and  Incomprehensible.

It still is.

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