He Reigns!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Hindsight

For I know the plans that I have in mind for you,” declares Adonai, “plans for shalom and not calamity—to give you a future and a hope.

~Jeremiah 29:11 (TLV)

A familiar verse that we all know and have probably used. But when life takes a hard left, do we believe God? Do we trust His word? Sometimes, it takes a little time and distance in order for us to see God's hand in our lives. Sometimes, the event causing the stress seems so big in our eyes, it's difficult to see that God can be anywhere around.

"Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, TLV)."

With time and distance, we can see how God works in our lives. Even the things that threaten to destroy our faith, bodies, minds, health, families, and the very structure of our existance can be used to change and improve who we are.

I was born with a bone disease and by the age of 34, I was in a wheelchair. I couldn't walk more than a few steps because my left hip had disintegrated. Over the next two years, I had surgeries on both hips and after a year, I could walk on a walker, and then a cane. But I hated that year in a wheelchair. I hated being "disabled." I had five kids still at home and everyone's life changed when mine did. Of course, I felt sorry for myself. I also felt angry. My body had betrayed me, my life had stopped, or so I thought, and God had let me down. I had prayed for healing: I had been prayed for by countless people who had annointed me with oil and laid hands on me. God didn't heal me.

Didn't I even have faith the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20)? I thought my faith was strong. I was an ordained minister; I'd been all over the country preaching in jails, prisons, churches, and biker clubs. I'd seen people healed, saved, and their lives changed, surely I had some measure of faith! So if God heard and answered my prayers for others, why not for my own body?

While in the wheelchair, with husband at work and kids in school, I was bored out of my mind. At that time, the state had some great college grants for people like me, so I enrolled. I had nothing particular in mind, so I took classes that interested me--water exercises, English literature, sign language, and I found a class on grief. Having lost our 16-year-old daughter a few years earlier, I was interested. Not only did that class rip my heart out over and over, it changed the course of my life. I went on to get a degree in counseling with specialty certifications in grief counseling and addiction. And some 25 years later, that certification list has grown as I continue my education to this day.

God took a situation that I hated, didn't understand, had left me in extreme pain and used it not only for my good, the good of others but also for His glory. Without that wheelchair, I wouldn't have gone to college when I did. I wouldn't have become a counselor. I wouldn't have worked in prisons, for probation and parole, I wouldn't have started groups for addicts, abused women, or grief support. My life, and hopefully, the lives of others, were changed because God had a plan for my future that I couldn't have imagined or seen with a telescope.

When we look at our life situations, we can only see the moment in front of us but when we look to God, we allow Him to intervene on a level that only He can imagine.

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have shalom. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world!” 
~John 16:33

©Marie McGaha 2017

No reproduction without author's permission

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