As a nation, we are in the midst of some very trying times.  There are fires in the Pacific Northwest, and destruction and flooding from back-to-back hurricanes in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia.  And hurricane season is nowhere near over!  So often I get wrapped up in all the problems around me (and these are nothing like the devastation we are seeing now), that I fail to acknowledge what I don’t see.  For example, the storm surges from hurricane Irma caused major flooding, but what I don’t see is what could have been if the storm had not started to weaken… if it had not changed direction.  Predictions were that the storm surges would be about twice what we actually saw!  So, as bad as it looks, it could have been much worse.  I don’t say that to minimize everyone’s pain.  I’m without internet today… and that is it.  I’m safe and dry… and many people aren’t.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  My son is an IT Director.  One of his responsibilities is to foresee problems and take steps to prevent them.  So he has updated security settings, anti-virus software, built in redundant circuits and systems, and averted and/or minimized many problems that have shut down other companies for days.  Many times there are issues that are nipped in the bud and people are totally unaware.  However, people complain about little personal inconveniences all the time.  They have no idea how bad it could be – and would be – without the preventative measures. 

Aren’t we just like that with God?  We complain about little inconveniences.  We don’t appreciate what we don’t know about.  We get stuck in traffic … but who knows what was ahead that we missed.  A door shuts … one we really wanted to go through … but God saved us from the danger on the other side.  Even if we don’t know the details, we can appreciate … praise God … for His being all-knowing, all-loving, and all-sufficient. 

Our God knows the future.  He knows what is ahead.  He knows what we need to learn to be ready for what’s coming.  He knows the best path to take … the best door to go through … which doors need closing. 

This reminds me of stories from 9/11.  One man had bought new shoes and had a blister.  He stopped at the drug store before work to buy Band-Aids … and missed being in the twin towers when they were struck.  Someone else was sick that day and stayed home.  Someone else had car trouble.  I’m sure that they weren’t happy about their “situations” … until later.  Many people died that day, but many more could have.  Why did it have to happen … why did anyone have to die?  I don’t know.  But even in the midst of tragedy, God’s Hand was there. 

I’ve started to look at the “What If’s” of my life and praise God for His guiding, protecting Hand.

What if…..

– I’d married my high school sweetheart?

-I’d gotten the other job that I thought I wanted?

-My husband hadn’t lost his job and we’d not moved to a new job in Atlanta?

-I’d gotten a better raise at work and then stayed with that company, instead of moving to a new, better job?

God has been so Faithful to me, leading and guiding … truly being my Good Shepherd.

I thought I’d finish by telling you a story from my own life.

My husband did lose his job in Cleveland and we ended up moving to Atlanta for his new job.  All my family was in Cleveland … parents, 11 siblings.  That meant we drove to Ohio at least twice a year to visit … 12 hours each way.  (Every time I drive up … I made 5 trips last year… I am more convinced the “Big Bang Theory” is correct … because Cleveland and Atlanta are definitely getting farther apart!)

Five years ago my husband died.  I was terrified (and angry) at the thought of driving up all by myself.  But I planned to go anyways.

The night before, I was at church and a couple of friends prayed for me.  One said that the Lord was building my confidence.  The other said I was never alone … even though I had often felt that way.  That was … nice.  It didn’t change how I felt … at all!

The next day I was to drive part way and stop for the night.  I didn’t want to try the whole trip in one day… yet.  I left work after lunch and started my trip … and I was not happy about it … and told the Lord so.

A few minutes later, on the freeway, in the lane to my left, a car pulled up alongside, just far enough in front for me to see their license plate…  J ROHI Then the car sped up and was gone.

I love to try to translate license plates, but this one … WOW!   J ROHI.  Jehovah Rohi.  The Lord is my shepherd.  What are the odds?!?!?  I so-o-o-o needed that right then.  All I could say was, “OK, You lead.”  And He did … and He has continued to lead and guide.

I’m not always aware He is leading.  But He always is.  My job is to follow … to look to Him for guidance … and to trust!

Dear God,
Thank you for being
Such a good, loving and kind
Gentle Shepherd.
Help me learn to
Ask for guidance,
Trust Your wisdom,
And thank you for
All the blessings
And protection
I never even see.



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