Does Life Just “Happen”?
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
Do the situations we face in life happen just by chance or coincidence?
How many times in your life have you made plans for a busy or fun day that never materialized? You may have carefully planned the events of the day to fit perfectly together only to look back in the end and ask yourself; what happened?
Maybe you just assumed it would be your normal routine. You get up at 6, leave for work at 7:30, plan to arrive by 7:50, clock in at 8, take lunch from noon until 1, leave work to come home at five, cook dinner, clean up, relax for a couple of hours, and then go to bed at 10 in order to rest and prepare for another day.
Or maybe you had a fun day planned – a shopping trip, a trip to the Zoo on a summer day, a football or soccer game, a family picnic or a movie or maybe just a hike in the nature preserve.
Possibly your plans were more for the long term. Maybe you had planned to attend a certain college to prepare for a career of your choosing, intending to be a Doctor, an Engineer, or a Business Manager. Maybe you had planned to marry the man or woman of your dreams and spend your life with that person, thinking that you would have a family together. Did your plans materialize or did they seem to fall by the wayside?
We all make plans. It is an important part of who we are and what we become. Good planning and the setting of goals for our future give us focus and direction, something to work and strive for. What we need to remember though when making plans is that they can always be subject to change. Our plans are not always God’s plans. We may set a course for our lives, knowing or thinking we know what we want, but God knows what we need.
My own family had a day a few years back that didn’t end as we had planned, but God used our plans for the benefit of our then 16 year old grandson.
My husband and I live near Flint, Mi which is only an hour or so from Ann Arbor, MI where the University of Michigan is located. Needless to say we are all die hard U of M fans.
On this particular day in early spring the plan was for my husband and me along with our two daughters and their families, to drive down to Ann Arbor and attend the U of M football spring practice games. It would be a great chance for the children to see the stadium and the college campus, and experience the atmosphere and excitement of college football.
|A Family Affair|
After the games our plan was to shop at several of the stores near campus and then go out for pizza at the Cottage Inn. We attended the games and did the shopping, but the pizza – well that never happened.
We had shopped for an hour so and were just finishing up and planning to go eat. The kids, especially the younger ones were getting tired and hungry. While waiting for the rest of the family to finish up I suddenly heard my youngest daughter cry out “Zack!” and I heard a noise like the sound of something falling and hitting hard. As I came around the corner of the clothes rack where I was standing I could see that Zack was on the floor in the midst of a full blown seizure.
Now I have seen people have seizures before and it is a little frightening, but when it is someone you are close to and whom you love dearly, it takes on a whole new meaning. It was a first for him. He had no previous history of seizures. All sorts of questions and fears ran through my mind and I felt complete helplessness and panic.
It seemed like forever but in reality his seizure lasted only about 3 minutes. When it was over he sneezed 3 times. Those sneezes were music to our ears. After the sneezing he went into a deep sleep. We were fortunate in that there just happened to be a Doctor in the store and that my daughter’s friend who was also with us is a paramedic. He knew to turn him on his side and keep him in that position until an ambulance arrived. When he woke up after the seizure he couldn’t speak and only smiled with one side of his face. He tried to use his phone to text what he wanted to say, but his fingers didn’t work right either. Thankfully by noon the next day his speech had recovered and the paralysis was gone.
The miracle of this story is that my daughter and her boys live up in the north woods, at least a 20-30 minute drive from everywhere. If he had been at home, it would have taken at least a half hour for help to arrive and then it would have been another half hour to the nearest hospital. From there he more than likely would have been transferred to a bigger and better equipped hospital for testing. The worst case scenario would have been for him to have been home alone. He is certainly old enough to be left at home by himself and he is at times. Thankfully that was not the case on this particular day.
As it turned out, he was right where he needed to be in order to receive the help he needed. We had no intention of ending up at U of M hospital when we left home that morning. We had our own plans, but God’s plans were different from ours. God used our plans for a fun day to put Zack in the place where he needed to be – a place where the help he needed was not far away.
It was later determined that he had viral encephalitis. It is a virus caused by a bug bite. He was treated with anti viral meds for six weeks and has been fine since.
As I tell the story it all seems so complicated, but it wasn’t difficult for our Almighty God who knows all things and controls our lives – the God who turns fear, sadness and pain into good for those who trust in Him. We take so much for granted in life, but God has it all planned out for us – every intricate little detail. What seems difficult and complicated to us is carried out by God with ease. His plans are perfect and never fail.
Nothing in life happens by chance or coincidence. The lives of every person on earth even those who reject God, are directed and carried out according to His plan.
Each time you make plans for a fun day or just assume your day will be the normal routine, say a prayer to the God of the Universe. Ask Him to go with you. Ask Him to help you be aware of His presence in all situations and to keep in mind that He is in control of your life. He gives good gifts. He will never leave you. He loves each of us as if we were His only child.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Thank you God, for putting Zack right where he needed to be when he got sick. You are a great and awesome God. Your love for us is beyond our imagination and Your mercies never fail.