When problems arise and troubles come into our lives, or when things just don’t go according to the plan, the natural response is to be at least disappointed, maybe complain, and sometimes even become angry at God. Recently when David and I were returning from New Tribes’ Missionary Training Center (where David helped with the safety training of our newest missionary candidates) and overnighting at the New Tribes’ guesthouse in El Paso, just such troubles entered our lives.
Matthew, who had stayed behind with fellow missionaries so he could attend classes, suffered an injury to his hand while playing rugby in P.E. This was not part of our plan, and certainly not part of the plan of his classmates who were hoping to leave the next day to rendezvous with us so we could all begin their Jr./Sr. trip to California (we had been asked to be one set of sponsors for the trip).
Not knowing the severity of the injury, we began to pray that it would not involve a broken bone. But, soon we received news that his hand was indeed broken. So, we began to pray that it would be a simple break, not requiring surgery. The next news we got informed us that a surgery would be necessary to properly repair the break. Finally, we prayed that the surgery would only require a local anesthesia, but alas the doctor informed us that the operation would be more serious than first thought and that Matthew would be put under general anesthesia to repair the complicated fracture.
The temptation to be upset by these sudden series of events was definitely there, after all, this was not part of the plan. Had God not heard our prayers? Of course He had, and he was answering them in His perfect wisdom and will. God reminded us that these were all things that had first passed through his loving hands and that He had a purpose in them. We knew that we could trust God that His purposes were for our good.
We were concerned for Matthew and wanted to be with him during the surgery, but talking with him by phone he assured us that God had given him a peace about going ahead with the surgery without us. Our fellow missionaries had arranged for us to video chat with Matthew and we were able to talk and pray together just before his surgery.
Matthew later told us that a few weeks previous to this, he had contemplated how he would react if he ever had to have a surgery and how the thought of being put under general anesthesia really bothered him. Little did he know that a few weeks later he would be facing that very situation. At that point, Matthew prayed for God’s help. God then showed Himself strong in Matthew’s life when it came time to face the surgery…Matthew was personally trusting God for the outcome of the surgery.
This is what we as parents pray for our children; that they will be able to trust God when troubles hit their lives. During the operation, we also felt God’s peace as we waited the 3 hours it lasted, anxious to hear the outcome. We know that many of you were praying for us and Matthew and we are so grateful for that.
The surgery went fine and Matthew was even able to go on his Jr./Sr. Trip, as planned. He was not able to swim in the Pacific Ocean, which would have been a first for him, but he did get to see it and wade in it. He now has 2 metal pins holding the numerous pieces of bone together and will be in a cast for 3 more weeks. He will have need to go through 6 weeks of physical therapy in order to hopefully regain full motion in that hand.
We can see many ways that God used this “trouble” in our lives for our good. We are sure that there are many more reasons that God allowed this incident in our lives. We may not be aware of them now, but one day we will fully understand.
God doesn’t allow difficult things in our lives, except to use them for His good purposes. That’s why we can say that God IS good all the time, not just when things are going well and according to our plans. But, even when things seemingly go wrong, He has a better plan for our ultimate good. Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray for Matthew’s full recuperation and for God’s provision in paying for the surgery.