Our change in hiking plans due to weather led to one blessing after another throughout a week we originally thought would be spent mostly in the mountains.
"A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps" (Proverbs 16:9).
Frances and I have been down the road long enough with the Lord to know that His redirection leads either to unexpected blessing or protection. Regarding the latter, we do not know what might have awaited us had we spent the four days and three nights of our planned itinerary. Some Bad News Bear might have been awaiting us along a mountain path. This would likely have led to jail time for Frances after she had mangled the beast, or worse! Or perhaps some stumble might have reduced one of us to a crawl rather than a walk. Who knows? We know who knows, and sometimes our Heavenly Father redirects our steps from a path that leads to danger.
Sometimes redirection leads to joys planned by the Lord that our intended journeys would bypass. All of us would testify to times when disappointment morphed into delight as our chosen plans could not be fulfilled. As we trust and submit to God when things don't go our way rather than sulk or throw a tantrum, He faithfully fulfills His promise of revealed goodness to hearts of faith. "O taste and see that the Lord is good. Bless is the man that trusteth in Him" (Psalm 34:8). His redirected path may involve great challenge and difficulty. Peace nevertheless ensues when we remember that "as for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31). Moreover, He is "for us", and thus always has our best intentions in mind as He directs and redirects our paths (Romans 8:31). If our Father blocks the way we think best, we can be sure that greater blessing awaits us along His chosen course.
We experienced this in countless ways last week after being redirected. First, we visited a dear Christian sister we met more than five years ago in Central Park, NYC. You may recall my writing about Gerry and Elaine, a couple we "just happened to meet" during a visit to the Big Apple. Gerry sang a hymn to us right there in the park that day, and said as we departed, "We may not see each other down here again. But we will Up There!" My brother was right about himself. Although we stayed much in contact by phone after our meeting, Gerry went to be with the Lord last year. So we didn't see each other face to face again. I rejoice, however, that we have seen Elaine. She lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina, within a few hours of our hiking destination in Hot Springs. We originally planned to see her after our hike on Wednesday. The change of plans moved things up to Monday, and we spend several blessed hours with our dear sister in her beautiful home. She is a delight, and shared a number of wonderful anecdotes about she and Gerry's life together with the Lord, and with each other. So, the Lord provided not an enexpected blessing. We knew we would visit Elaine while in the area. However, the gift of her fellowship came sooner than we expected. Sooner, and even better!
We then journeyed to Suwanee, Georgia, where our friends Bryan and Peggy allowed us to invade their home several days early. They've been on the Orange Moon mailing list since the early days of sending out the messages. I don't have words to express what a blessing they've been to us, and our time with them last week yet again graced us with one obvious gift of the love of Christ after another in the company of Bryan, Peggy, and their beautiful daughter, Brittany (she returns to the mission field soon, so keep her in your prayers). I'm not sure where I would start if I attempted to list them all, but remind me tomorrow to tell you about Buford, Bruisters, Parsons, and the most beautiful wind chimes you can imagine. I will, Lord willing.
The bears were safer in the mountains because of our change of plans (His change of plans). And we had more time with beloved brothers and sisters. Disappointment dissolved as our faithful Heavenly Father enabled us to prayerfully remember His perfect way, and perfectly loving intentions. When things don't go our way, let us look for His way. It will be there for His trusting children as provisions and protections await us along the pathways of diversion that lead to delight…
"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, Amen."
Weekly Memory Verse
Sanctify them through Thy truth. Thy Word is truth."