God’s Unimaginable Plans for Those Who Love Him
My grandmother’s youngest sister, Vinnie Mae, lay awake in her bed. At 87-years-old, her once busy life of leading the choir, running an interior design business with her husband, and teaching high school had progressed into a slow decline of health and awareness from Alzheimer’s disease. She was the last living member of the Davis children, originally represented by seven girls and one boy, all born in the early 1900s.
When my sister and I were pre-teens, Aunt Vinnie insisted we sing in the choir at the small church where my grandmother’s family worshipped. I wonder if she knew how often the two of us carried on sign language conversations in the choir row behind her while the pastor preached. If so, she never said anything to us. She wanted us in church, learning about and singing for Jesus; even if it meant putting up with our shenanigans.
Visiting Aunt Vinnie brought mixed emotions for me. I was always glad to see her but it was sad to see her lying in the twin-size hospital bed, being spoon-fed by a stranger. Her home was no longer her own, now decorated and tended to by a kind woman, formerly unknown to any of our family.
So, on this particularly stormy and cold day, I thought of something positive to say to Aunt Vinnie on my visit. “I’m glad you didn’t have to go out in this weather today, Aunt Vinnie. It’s awful out there.”
“Oh, but I did go out!” she beamed. “Tommy and I went to Norfolk Wholesale Florist and the furniture store.”
After a moment’s hesitation, I said, “That’s great. I’m so glad you two got to have a nice day together.”
Now, I was quite aware that she had laid there under her covers all day and Tommy had been with the Lord well over a decade. Early on in her disease, I would have given in to the urge to help her remember what actually went on. But, not now. I realized at that moment that the Lord had blessed her mind with a totally better day than her body had experienced.
It reminded me of the scripture:
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, NLT
Helen Keller is quoted as having said, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
I had been looking at the closed door – the once vibrant and take-charge woman who I admired, now totally dependent on others. And that afternoon, God gave me a glimpse of the door He had opened for her. I no longer looked at her situation the same. By the thoughts God had allowed in her mind, He had given her a more precious day than her reality would have allowed.
When I think of the vastness of God’s abilities to have much greater things going on than we can imagine, I just want to praise Him! He does this all the time for those who love Him. Why should we waste our emotions with worry and sadness? God’s got something going on in the background; what we see is always cloaked by our mortal limitations.
Any time the memory of the truths revealed to me during my special visit with my great-aunt cross my mind, I just want to sing, “My God, How Great Thou Art!”
From: Today’s Devotions
SCRIPTURE READING — GALATIANS 1:11-24
They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.
Paul had started the young churches in the region of Galatia, but now they were floundering because some false teachers had led them astray (Galatians 1:6-10). Instead, they had needed to be encouraged and enfolded to remember the good news of Jesus and to live for him alone.
So Paul tells briefly how God changed him from a persecutor of Christ-followers to a fully committed ambassador of Jesus (see Acts 9). His transformation was not about him but about Jesus. And eventually he went to Jerusalem to meet with the leaders of the church who lived there. Then Paul moved on to spread the gospel to regions north of Judea. And when the churches in Judea heard about him, the Spirit made clear that Paul was truly converted to “preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” That brought all the believers to praise God. And instead of fearing Paul, they rejoiced on account of him.
People who come to know Jesus as their Savior need to be received with praise to God. They have been saved from darkness and brought into the light. They need friends who will bless them and encourage them.
Do you know someone whom you can encourage in this way? Be sure to do so!
God of grace, move us to praise and give thanks to you for bringing sinners to your Son, Jesus, and guide us to encourage and enfold them. Ame