Monday, March 19, 2018

When the Hand of God Restored My Hope

My appointment with the cornea specialist was scheduled for 2:30 pm. I planned to leave work early enough to have time for a quick lunch near the doctor’s office. 

“You should get something good,” one of my coworkers suggested. “What do you like to eat?”

“I’ll probably find a salad somewhere. I prefer Middle Eastern food, but how likely is that to be near the doctor’s office?”

“Not likely,” we both agreed.

A surprising series of events begin to unfold.

GPS took me straight to the office in less time than I’d expected. I drove into the parking lot and found a huge surprise. A stone fountain in front of the building bore the words of one of my favorite verses in bold letters.
Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18

I stopped the truck and stared. “God is in this,” I thought, as I sat in stunned silence. It felt like a sign of blessing. 

I intended to have a light lunch before the appointment and get something more substantial on the way home. My early arrival meant I had time for a sit-down meal. The “Around Me” app listed restaurants in the area. 

A Middle Eastern restaurant was next door.

The waiter greeted me with a menu and a little surprise. “I have some very tender lamb if you’d like a kebob today.” 

My favorite meal.

After lunch, I returned to the doctor’s office to check in. The receptionist greeted me with the usual clipboard and papers to complete. To the left of her desk were a chair and table. A large-print Bible was positioned prominently on the table with a stack of smaller Bibles to the side. 

God’s hand was evident. 

By the time I took my place in the waiting room, the sense of God’s hand at work overwhelmed me. The Middle Eastern restaurant next door, my favorite meal, the verse on the fountain, the Bible on the desk — any of it was possible, but all together? It was more than a coincidence. 

I knew it was the hand of God.

Every person in the office treated me with kindness and understanding, including the specialist. Despite his frightening words, “We’ll use this medicine for a year…chronic…remission is possible…might recur…,” I felt blessed when I left. 

Hope returned.

In the midst of the seriousness of the eye disease, the hope I didn’t realize I’d lost surged in my heart again. Four seemingly-random things, so perfectly aligned with my preferences and desires, restored my sense of God’s watch-care. 

Our omnipresent God was with me. 

The Omniscient One saw me.

My loving Father cared for me.

Fear fled in the presence of Hope and left an overwhelming sense of peace. The following days were not all easy. My eye still hurt a while longer. The medicine was hard to tolerate at first.

Could I do this hard thing for a year? Until I was gently reminded of an important fact, I wasn’t sure. I don’t have to do the next year today. I need only live one day at a time, and I have all the strength I need to do just that.

Fear not.

Fear not. It’s what angels always say when they greet someone with terrifying circumstances. Those words are worth remembering.

Fear may be a natural and easy response to the storms of life, but for those whose trust is in Christ, we have a choice. Fear or faith. 

There’s no need for fear. Our circumstances have not caught God by surprise. He is not powerless, even in our most difficult situations. 

No matter what we face, we don’t tackle it all at once. We do it one moment at a time. It’s not too much for us, even when it’s horrible and hard, because we are not alone and we need not rely on our own strength. We have One who loves us, is with us, and helps us. He will carry us through.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’” Isaiah 41:13 nasb

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