Print Version June 1st, 2005
Listen to them pray. Listen to Tobit and to Sarah. They are both beyond the protocols of prayer.
Tobit wants to die. His life is a misery. He is blind. He has to rely on charity to keep him, or—worse of all it seems to him—women’s work. And he’s going a little mad with it all. So he lays it on thick to God. You are great and wonderful God and all you do is true and good but we are all worthless maggots who have never done what we should. I deserve to be punished, to live and suffer, but please snuff me out and have done with it. Let it be over.
Sarah too wants to die. She has husband trouble—or maybe demon trouble. Seven she has lost, all on her wedding nights, before they ever got to her marriage bed. But it’s not the lost husbands she is worried about in her prayer—it’s that people are talking! Suicide has its problems so she turns to God to do the deed—she too prays to die. Let it be over.
They both pray lousy prayers full of mixed motives, misunderstandings, and manipulation. They are hardly models for us, yet their prayer is the prayer of all the afflicted, offended, lost souls of this world.
And God hears. Both of them found favour before the glory of God it says. Prayer may be messy, it may be selfish, it may be theologically incorrect—but God hears. And God’s answer is to give them both better than they ask. God’s answer is an angel. They want to die but what they get is an angel to heal them. A rather delightful, incognito angel with a dog for a sidekick.
The answer is immediate though the healing takes quite a while to be revealed. The remedy for Tobit and the remedy for Sarah, though hundreds of miles apart, turn out to be joined by a journey, several outrageous coincidences, and a near miss with a killer fish. Oh and true love. … and treasure—read on!
Tobit and Sarah must have been so very disappointed that night they prayed, let it be over. Come the morning they were still there: Tobit still humiliated and blind; Sarah still a scandal and unwed. God’s care is never over. God’s remedy for them took some brewing, some strange twists, a fishy exorcism, and an angel with a dog. But as we shall see our God is God of the living not the dead.