But God’s plans don’t always dovetail with ours. What happens when life throws us for a loop, whether it is temporary, or in the case of our friends, a lifelong change that requires daily commitment to caring for their daughter?
What happens when we are thrust into a situation we did not choose, are not enjoying and are s-t-r-u-g-g-l-i-n-g to stay the course? Sometimes the struggle becomes lifelong; sometimes it lasts for a short while. Either way, it can hit us full in the face, disorient, scare, disturb and sadden us.
A lay pastor friend recently dealt with a tragedy. He was called on to conduct the memorial service of a murder victim. It was not in his plans for the week. He understands full well that it is God’s will that he assist the widow, counsel and comfort the family. He set aside some income-producing business time to care for the family. But God used the situation to allow the Gospel message to be preached!
Think about biblical characters who faced trials and challenging circumstances. We are familiar with the story of Job’s loss, suffering, perseverance, faith struggle and ultimate restoration. Job’s life has become a synonym for faithful service to God, in spite of trials. Simon Peter is remembered for the roller coaster of emotion that rose to the heights of inspiration only to plunge to the depths of failure. He denied Jesus three times in the trying hours before Jesus went to the cross. Yet history has recorded Peter’s faithful martyrdom at the hands of evil enemies of the Christian faith.
There are times when we need to step back into the garden, retreat, pray and review our purpose. God is not finished with us. We need to consider our situation and pray in new ways for God’s guidance. This often means giving up our interests and ambition. Once that is done we can step up to the plate and see the field with a new view.
Oswald Chambers gave some challenging words on this subject. “As long as you maintain your own personal interests and ambitions, you cannot be completely aligned or identified with God’s interests. This can only be accomplished by giving up all of your personal plans once and for all, and by allowing God to take you directly into His purpose for the world. Your understanding of your ways must also be surrendered because they are now the ways of the Lord.” My Utmost for His Highest
As my family has watched Skyler’s family throughout the years, we see the evidence of her father’s words. Her parents, strong Christians and former missionaries, were put in a position they did not seek, but have accepted with grace. Their love, care and concern for their daughter is easily apparent to all. So is their steadfast devotion and love for the Lord. They recognize the new mission field the Lord has opened for them.
Only God can number the lives this young girl has touched through numerous hospital stays, daily nurse’s visits in the family’s home and contact with the special education staff who help Skyler. Each of these persons has been selected by God to receive a “special Skyler smile” and to witness the commitment her parents have to the Lord.
“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I Cor. 10:31