October 2022

Still Praise His Name

No matter how carefully we plan, things sometimes just don’t go accordingly. There are times when life can feel like a suspense thriller, with one “suddenly” after another, and, depending on your personality, that can either be exciting or terrifying.

You wake up on a Sunday, pour that first lovely cup of coffee, planning to dress for church, put chicken in the crock-pot for your eldest and his wife and son, who are coming for dinner, and thinking the most challenging part of the day will be remembering to stop by the grocery after church to get fresh bread. Then the phone rings. Your mother-in-law’s neighbor is calling to let you know that she is in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. No one is really sure what has happened. Now it is time to pivot. Time to pray.

As my dad used to say, “No one knows what a day will bring.” He was a humble man, and rarely made any plans without first acknowledging, “Lord willing.” Remembering that no thing comes to us apart from the sovereign will of God helps to stabilize us if we are confident of His goodness.

As we were driving to the hospital, which is several counties away, I found myself praying that God would help us be His ambassadors and that we would recognize Him in the midst of the particular chaos that is an Emergency Room. It seemed so clear that it was His mercy in the timing: it could have been a workday, and we’d have been less able to get away quickly. His grace was evident in the attentiveness of her neighbors to call with the news. Seeing Him helped us to settle in the reality that we are in His will and His way, and we are not alone.

My mother-in-law is out of danger at present, and it appears that after an overnight stay she will be able to return home. What that looks like for us remains to be seen — in her eighties, she is still determinedly independent, and we are aware that this event may precipitate some discussion about her future care. This also is evidence of how God takes us the gentlest way possible. His plans for us and for her are for a future and a hope, and with Him all the things that need to happen are indeed possible. Strategies, conversations (even the emotional ones), preparations and resources are under His sovereign rule, and we can rest in His unchanging nature and character.

I am mindful of a deep gratitude that I encounter my life journey with the conviction that God is near, and I am not dependent on my own devices. Would that all could have this same sense of security. It is why He came. Yes, life on planet earth is messy, bad things happen, and human beings are complex and prone to self-interest. Yet will I rejoice in the Lord.

Dear one, are you encountering the unforeseen? Is your resilience depleted by difficult “suddenlies.”? Look unto Him, from whence cometh your help. Meditate on Psalm 121 and receive the benefit of His faithfulness.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore. (NKJV)

Until next week, beloved, still praise His name. No matter what happens.

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