This isn’t where I expected to be writing my next blog—sitting in a seventh-floor hospital room watching my husband of fifty years recover from emergency major surgery three days ago. But none of this took God by surprise, and that is so good to know.
The beauty of faith is that in my sixty-five years of walking with God, I’ve seen Him go before in many amazing ways. In the military I think it is called Advanced Operations, or Advanced Ops (Ad-Ops? Who knows in these days of “hurry and say it as briefly as possible”?) In multiple aspects of life, it helps immensely to have someone scout out and prepare things in advance. Sitting here, I’ve looked back, and it hasn’t taken much rummaging in the memory trunks to make a list grow.
Perhaps the biggest example of this happened with my becoming a teacher. I didn’t grow up with any plans to be a teacher, and I went through college that with attitude. I realize now that I probably had no desire to teach because I had never been much around children. Most of my growing up was on an isolated mission post in central Africa during World War II. My brother and sister were the only other children of my culture around. My theology tells me that God understood that, and He didn’t push me. It wasn’t until ten years out of college, with the beginnings of a family and early experiences working with children in church that I was surprised to discover I liked working with children. I started to work on a teaching credential, and exactly three years later, when I was finishing up, God started the wheels rolling for our going to South America where I would be a school teacher. I’m still stand amazed.
Eleven years later the speaker for our annual conference on the mission field was a trained counselor, and he chose “Dealing with Stress” as his topic. Well, that was a blessing and all very interesting, but I remember wondering why God had led him to that focus because, frankly, our life was fairly nice and peaceful at that mission outpost. Yet within a week after the speaker left, one of our coworkers was kidnapped and seven weeks later executed. Clearly God had known something we didn’t know, and His Advance Operations had laid some groundwork ahead of the experience.
One of our daughters had a yen to be a nurse, but she wasn’t sure she was cut out for it. After she helped care for her dear grandfather during the last summer of his life, both at a hospital and in our home his last fifteen days, she was hooked and wanted to get the training. At that very time, her company phased out her job, and that left them required to pay for her training for another line of work. God’s Advanced Ops had perfectly set up that timing.
So it hasn’t been surprising that He was still performing special tasks for His children this week, and what a comfort it has been. For starters, our daughter-in-law’s parents were in town, which has made it possible for her and (when he was in town) our son to spend more time at the hospital with us/me. It has been more than a blessing because we have minimal drivers in this extended family, and an extra one wasn’t just convenient but next to necessary. Our dear neighbors have been in a “light” time in their work, so they’ve been avail to help in a number of ways. The fact that my car was already full of gas shows that the Divine Advanced Ops doesn’t deal in just the big things.
At the moment, my Tangled Strands story focuses on the other side of this issue—on God coming in to clean up what has been left behind in a mess. How comforting that our amazing God can handle both with equal divine perfection.