In the mid-1980s my parents owned a small business, several hours drive from all their children. The business had become more work than they could do. Mom’s health was getting worse, and they needed to be closer to family. Every night, for over two years, I prayed God would provide a buyer so my aging folks could come home and be taken care of by their family. I was faithful in my prayers, fully expecting God would answer me. I knew he had his own timeframe, so I tried to be patient as the days, months, and years slipped by.
While I was still praying for all of this, Mom got sick and died. Not the answer to my prayer. I wanted her to come back and live near us. I didn’t understand why God answered my prayer that way. I had it all planned out, and He didn’t follow my plan. After a couple of months, I was able to resign myself to God’s solution. I knew Mom was in heaven, whole and well again. She was in the presence of the Lord and her family who’d gone before her.
But God had answered only one part of my prayer—the care of my ailing mother. Selling the business became even more important as we didn’t want Dad living alone so far from us. So I continued to pray for a sale, planning for Dad to come home where we could care for him as he aged. I was sure God would get it right this time.
In less than six months after Mom’s death, Dad had a buyer. He also had a fiancée whom none of his children had met. After obnoxiously proclaiming his intentions, he moved across the country to be with her, leaving a stunned, upset family behind, wondering what had just happened.
Again, not the answer I wanted. God fixed the problem. The business had sold, and Dad was no longer alone. He had someone to care for him. This answer was a lot harder to take. I did not understand God’s plan one bit, and I’m ashamed to say I told him so— repeatedly and angrily.
Then several years later something happened that helped me see God’s hand in this sad scenario. Dad developed Alzheimer’s. He’d apparently been in the first stages of this dreadful disease when Mom died. Had she lived Dad would not have been able to care for her, and Mom was too frail to care for him. Their children were too far away to be involved in their daily care. The burden of running the business would have destroyed both of them, and without the sale of the property we would not have been able to move them home.
My prayers had been answered. Not in the way I wanted. Not in the way we felt was best for his family, but perhaps in a way that was best for Dad. I saw, finally, that God’s plan had taken care of my parents.
You might be asking, why tell such a sad story about my parents? It’s because of the song you heard earlier—“Bow the Knee.” At a time when I needed to understand why things were unfolding in such an awful manner, God poked me with the words to this song. He told me not to worry. He told me that he could make good things come out of bad thing. He told me that I needed to trust him, no matter what things looked like.
I don’t know why He’s put this song in my head again. Perhaps because I need to hear it. Perhaps because someone who reads this devotion needs to hear those words. At any rate, I hope that by sharing a lesson I learned a long time ago I can remind each of us that “…for those who love God, all things work together for good...” (Romans 8:28) even when we don’t understand His plan.