I Couldn’t See God’s Plan
God’s plan isn’t always obvious to us. Carol points out that we have a natural tendency to make our plans but find that God’s plan often overrules.
My Summer Plans
My summer plans for 2016, or at least a few weeks of plans had been set in place by the beginning of that year. Camps tend to book speakers early in the year if not at the end of the previous year and this time had been no different.
By March my father’s health began to decline further. I briefly wondered if I should be going to camp that summer. But Dad encouraged me to continue as planned. His health continued to decline. My husband, off on disability from work, spent countless hours having coffee with my dad. We took him to emergency multiple times and he had stays in hospital.
By May, it became apparent he could no longer live on his own, even with all the supports we had in place, our visits and help. I continued to prepare for speaking at camp as per his instructions but as we moved him into an assisted living home, I also let all the camps know of my situation.
Commitments and God’s Plans
The first camp I was scheduled to speak at in July sent me a message. God told them to release me from my obligation to come and he would provide another speaker on short notice. I must admit to having mixed emotions. I had been to this camp several times before and I knew the directors and staff had laid the situation at the feet of Jesus. I trusted His answer to them even though I could not see why God had this plan. I knew I would miss being at this camp.
God knows the way ahead and gave me the special gift of having that week with my dad – his last week on earth. On the Saturday of that week, I visited with my father and husband. I reminded my dad I needed to leave for another camp in the morning. He said, “Okay.”
I told him, “I can still phone you every day and Brian can visit you.”
He replied simply, “Okay.”
Yet I hesitated. He had been very weak all day. I knew he longed to go home to be with Jesus. We left to make supper but came back a couple hours later. By 9 pm he had gone home to glory. In my sorrow, I swiped at tears and knew I needed to phone camp and let them know I would not be there.
A Change of Plans
Phoning a camp director after ten on Saturday night to tell him you cannot come the next day and speak is not easy but we both trusted God to provide. I found out later God had already put it on the heart of the couple who used to direct this camp to be speakers sometime. They just never knew how soon.
The director then asked, “Can you still come the next week?” since I had been booked for two weeks in a row. I agreed. As difficult as it would be to go so soon after the funeral, I trusted the peace I had about going which only God could provide. My husband figured it would be a great idea and we both knew my dad would have approved.
By Thursday, at my dad’s funeral, my asthma flared up so badly I could hardly catch my breath. No matter what I did it continued to get worse. The medications did not seem to have any effect. By Sunday, my husband decided to drive me to the camp and stay at least one night to make sure I would be okay. He would return to pick me up when camp finished. I begged God for breath to speak, to hang out with campers and do what he gifted me to do.
At Sunday evening chapel, I could hardly breathe but in talking to others, the only ones who heard the difficulty and not the words I spoke were my husband and me. God answered prayer and gave me breath to speak. That night my breathing became so difficult my husband wondered if I would survive until morning but I refused to go to the hospital, only ten km away, until after morning chapel. Once again God spared my life during the night and gave me breath to speak at chapel with my shortness of breath not being a distraction to those listening to the words of the message.
I Trust God
After chapel I finally agreed to see the doctor at the emergency room. This caring Christian doctor gave me several treatments and debated on a third. We talked about it. I knew the side effects of three close together treatments. I would shake like a leaf but I simply told him, “I trust God to show you what is best to do.”
The doctor left for a period of time. When he returned he gave me prednisone and told me he felt very strongly he was supposed to keep me for a third treatment. We both trusted God’s direction in this matter.
Heading Back to Camp
After the third treatment, we left to pick up a prescription before heading back to camp. Just as we left town the director phoned me. “Don’t come back to the camp. The main building’s on fire and you wouldn’t do well with all the smoke. Stay at the little country church and wait.”
I could hardly believe what I heard but as we got closer to the little country church we saw smoke and flames visible above the trees and we prayed for safety.
By supper the smoke had lessened. By covering my face I could return to the new kitchen/ dining room building which stood waiting for the final inspection to clear the camp to begin using it. The campers had been picked up. The other building which had been the kitchen, dining room and chapel smoldered across the playing field. Cabin leaders, directors and other staff stood in disbelief at the events of the day. Then a young leader picked up a guitar and everyone began praising God in song.
God’s Plan to Keep Me Alive!
No one was hurt. Only one building was lost. But camp was over for the week. God protected me by sending me ahead to the hospital so I would not be in the building and wanting to help when the fire broke out. One of the cabin leaders I knew from other years said, “God made you really sick to keep you alive!” God had things in place so camp could open within two weeks and finish the August weeks of camp for that summer.
Several weeks later my health and breathing had improved. I could breathe again.
I did not understand why plans needed to change for the first week of camp but God did. I did not know why my asthma was so out of control but God used that to keep me alive and safe. I did not know why God allowed the fire to break out but he had plans we may never fully know.
Psalm 25:4, 5 “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach e, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.
Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.
Visit Carol’s website carolscorner.ca
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