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“O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things!  You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them” (Isaiah 25:1).

Alexander Fleming was a young bacteriologist when an accidental discovery led to one of the great developments of modern medicine. His discovery and isolation of penicillin marks the start of antibiotics which has been hailed by some as “the greatest contribution medical science ever made to humanity.” Returning to his lab after a late summer vacation with his family in September, 1928 – Fleming noticed a patch of “blue mold” with a clear area around it in a culture dish. After some testing, he concluded that the mold had stopped the growth of that particular bacteria. He kept the mold alive and tested it on lab animals. The following year – Fleming published a medical paper stating that this mold could kill disease-causing bacteria with high degrees of resistance and yet was non-toxic to animals. The mold was identified as “Penicillium notatum,” and Fleming named the substance it discharged “penicillin.” Fleming lacked the chemical means to turn his discovery into a usable drug, so he moved on to other projects. A decade later – two researchers at Oxford University read the details of Fleming’s discovery and conducted extensive tests, proving it was possible to make penicillin in pure form. By 1942 – British drug companies began making enough penicillin for military use, saving lives by the hundreds of thousands. The new drug was considered a military secret, and news of its effectiveness was not released officially until war’s end. In 1945, along with Fleming, they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

The discovery of penicillin is often cited to be by chance. Others, however, are convinced that it was God who planned and directed its finding, just as He did with all of His creation. Fleming seems to support this theory with his own words, “Nature makes penicillin; I just found it.” His observation of the growth of a ‘random deposited mold’ emerges as unmistakable evidence of a design in which we can see the finger of God…if we only look. Long before Fleming’s miraculous encounter – a French biologist, microbiologist and chemist by the name of Louis Pasteur who died on September 28, 1895 once stated: “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Science brings men nearer to God.” By His very own creation, God provided white blood cells in our bodies to fight infections, but some people would still die from them. When the right time had come, He allowed for a new opportunity in our lives through the introduction and use of penicillin. Yet disease processes still occur and new types of infections persist, some of which result in the demise of human lives. Just as we might expect, there will always be those among us who will dare to ask the question, “Where is God?”

This was the very same question asked by two sisters who were friends of Jesus. When He heard that their brother Lazarus was sick, Jesus purposefully delayed travel for two more days (John 11:6). By the time He and the disciples arrived, “Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days” (John 11:17). When Martha, one of the sisters, went out to meet Jesus – she said to Him, “if you would have been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21), as if to say, “Jesus, why did you wait so long?” Jesus ultimately resurrected Lazarus, which was a display of Jesus’s glory for all to witness. In John 11:40, at the end of the Lazarus story, Jesus says, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” God’s delay is not his denial; it is simply an opportunity in the end for Him to be glorified. God’s glory is not determined by His timing but rather as He works through the circumstances of our lives.  While we fret and worry about the events of today, He is already at tomorrow. The Old Testament prophet gave us these words from our Creator: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). We need never ask where God is. But if we do, we will hopefully hear the voice of Moses in the distance saying to us – “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Where is God? Simply revealing a path for you to find and follow.

REFLECTION: In what ways does God’s goodness strengthen your life? When you fail to see evidence of Him working in your daily routine, or when comforting another who is struggling – how might you find peace in these words – “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you” (2 Kings 20:5)?


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