“In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:6
Do you ever get frustrated or disappointed when things don’t go according to plan? I do. Even the smallest things can upset my day. But thanks to God’s help, I am working on it. He has been showing me that He is still in control, no matter what happens.
Quite a few years ago, my husband and I were vacationing in the mountains. We were actually on our way home on this particular day. But for some reason, we decided to do a little hiking along the way. This was before we had a GPS or a smart phone, so my husband handed me the map and asked me to navigate to a particular mountain. It went well for a while, until my husband decided to make a spontaneous right hand turn.
“Where are you going?” I asked, in a panic. “We’re going to get lost.”
I really love when things go perfectly. I can’t stand it when something goes awry, even the tiniest thing. And that leaves no room in my life for spontaneous turns!
“I see a mountain over there,” was my husband’s reply.
Shaking my head with a sigh, I stared out the window as my husband continued making haphazard turns. Or so it seemed. But to my amazement, before long we arrived at a state park. I truly was surprised that this had worked out. Ok so maybe random turns weren’t always so bad.
At this park there were several hiking trails to choose from, so we went in the ranger station to ask for advice on a good trail. Well unfortunately, the ranger and another rambler were talking for quite some time, and didn’t seem to notice that there were other people around. So we finally left and randomly picked a trail close to where we parked.
After we had been walking for a while, we passed a man who was descending the mountain. In his usual friendly nature, my husband briefly spoke to the man, and then we continued on our way.
When we got to the top of the mountain, we were rewarded with an extraordinary view. We could see beauty for miles and miles in every direction. But we didn’t stay on the mountaintop long, for we felt an unexplainable urgency to leave.
As we traveled back down the trail, we met up with the same man again. This time he was lying on a bench with his cooler bag under his head, so we stopped to ask him if he was ok.
We were shocked when he said that he had climbed the mountain to end his life. My husband and I glanced at each other for a moment, trying to think of the right words to say to this hurting man.
We tried to tell him that his friends and family wouldn’t want to see him go. But he said that he didn’t have any friends or loved ones.
So we then told the man that God wouldn’t want him to end his life. But the man said that he didn’t believe in God. We tried to explain that even if he didn’t believe in God, God still believed in him. And we told him that God wanted to be there for him in his time of trouble, if only he would allow it.
The man seemed to listen to what we said, and we prayed that it was fully absorbed. Finally we parted ways as the man remained on the bench. We talked at a normal pace for a bit. Then when we were out of range, we ran to the ranger station and told them what happened. They thanked us for letting them know, and they immediately made their way up the trail to the lonely man.
I now truly believe that God was our pilot that day. Numerous things did not go according to our plan. If we did not decide to go hiking, if my husband did not make a random turn, if we did not choose the trail that we did, and if we had tarried on the mountaintop, we would not have had the opportunity to help this man.
Often times in life, we get discouraged when things don’t go exactly how we think they should. But if we learn to live with our arms open wide, God will take our hand and guide our steps. And we will discover that His plan was so much greater than ours.