I find God fascinating. I am in awe of the way He works and moves. He constantly surprises me, but remains ever faithful. The day after I wrote the first installment in this series, I read an entry in the devotional book called For the Write Reasons, by Marybeth Whalen. The book is a compilation of the experiences of 31 Christian writers, publishers, and editors. For this particular entry, Marybeth interviewed Thelma Wells, a well-known author and speaker for the Women of Faith conferences. God knocked my socks off as I read these words:
After the release of her second book, Thelma continued to ponder the obstacles she had overcome. She realized that she had personally witnessed countless small miracles in her life. "People call them 'situations' or 'circumstances' or 'coincidences' ", she says. "But, I don't believe that. I believe we have divine appointments every day."
Wow! God has centered my mind on this exact thought for the past month. He even set up this "divine appointment" so that I would read these words at the very time that I needed them.
Every year, when the anniversary of one of the worst days in American history rolls around again, I am forced to take a look back at the miraculous circumstances of my life. September 11, 2001 - a horrible memory for most - is a bittersweet day of celebration for me. It is the day that changed my life. The day causes me to reflect even more on the prearranged meetings of my life.
Today, I choose to remember the people God used to bring me healing. Those people God strategically placed in my path to help me, physically and spiritually. Some who didn't even know they were being used.
There was the family physician who sent me to get X-rays when I began to experience daily pain. Though I was not happy with the way his office handled many things, it was ultimately his perseverance that pushed me to find a specialist. It was his nurse who sent me to a neurosurgeon by mistake. Had she actually checked to see if this doctor performed spinal surgery prior to sending me on a 6-hour drive to Atlanta to see him, I might never have met one of the best spinal surgeons in the country.
You see, this neurosurgeon "happened" to be close friends with a spinal specialist who "happened" to also be in Atlanta. With one phone call, he arranged for me to see this amazing surgeon that same day (for any of you who have dealt with doctors, you know this is a miracle in itself!). I had a divine appointment with Dr. William Horton, an angel in scrubs, who literally walked out of the OR to see me late in the afternoon, as his office closed for the day. Though Dr. Horton described my anatomy as "goofy", he said that my body was exactly the way God designed it, and I thanked the LORD for a physician who understood His creation. He and his nurse, Jean, listened intently to my issues and gave me hope.
The surgery was scheduled and we began to prepare for the difficult road ahead. Some wonderful friends of ours offered their home for our coming and going to Atlanta for testing, and a place of rest for my husband and mom who alternated nights with me in the hospital. They treated us as family, never making our stay seem like an imposition.
Yet another angel was placed in our midst once we arrived in Atlanta. A pastor in every sense of the word, this man walked into our hospital room and became an instant friend. A couple we knew from our church back home told him we were there, so he came and offered prayers, food, and anything else he thought we needed. My walk with the LORD has been greatly altered by knowing this man of God. There is much more to say about him that I will have to save for another post.
The morning of my surgery, I was prepped and wheeled back before the terror began. How Dr. Horton tuned out the events of that day to expertly perform a 10-hour surgery on my spine, only God knows. God had placed me under the hand of this doctor for this day. God knew what would happen. He knew that the news might have caused another surgeon's hands to shake and his scalpel to slip. He knew that Dr. Horton would remain calm and focused.
All of the nurses took great care of me while I was in the hospital, but one in particular grabbed our hearts. Her name was Jacquelyn and she ran her floor with the precision of an army commander. I entered the hospital with an infection that had to be eradicated before I could have surgery. I was placed on very strong antibiotics that made me sick, but Jacquelyn was there to comfort and calm me. She told me to call her if I needed her at any time while I was there in the hospital and she would come. We were disappointed to find that she was not assigned to me when I came out of surgery. But God saw to it that she was there the night that I got terribly ill with a staph infection after the 2nd operation. It was her organizational skills and gumption that got the attention of the entire nursing staff that night. If it weren't for her, I feel sure that the illness would have gotten much worse. Because of her quick action, I was diagnosed and was getting the medication I needed by morning. My husband and I still laugh at the gentle, yet firm way she ordered him around. She affectionately called him "Private Duty", as she "trained" him to become my nurse for our return home.
There were many others who touched us in some way throughout my hospital stay and 3-month recovery. Believing that the stories I've shared here were mere coincidences would be dishonoring the power of my God. I was forced to look at my life differently through years of disabling pain, two major operations and a long road of learning to stand, sit, and walk again. What will it take for God to get your attention? What circumstance will God have to use to open your eyes to His Will that He is revealing all around you?
Next in this series, we will look at the Scriptures that show us how God sets our appointment book for the day. This weekend, try not to override God's plans with your own agenda. Let Him order your steps. Trust me. It's easier that way.