Looking Back

Twelve years ago, our daughter was getting ready to graduate from college with a health sciences degree.  She wasn’t sure of what she should do after graduation, so a friend who had already walked that path told her to get her EMT license and work in an emergency room in order to gain some experience and some insight into the medical field.  She got her EMT license during her senior year of college. 

Shortly before our daughter’s graduation, my friend and I were at Sam’s Club shopping for a big church dinner.  We were standing at the cooler choosing heads of lettuce when another shopper joined us.  This other shopper was a caterer, and soon the three of us were talking away.  We found out as we chatted that she had a grandson with autism.  I told her about our Aaron, and off we went sharing some similar concerns.  I had noticed that this woman was wearing a work shirt from one of our large local hospitals, and embroidered on the front were the words, “ER Services.” 

I told her how my daughter sure would love to work at that ER and that she planned to apply soon.  This woman took out some paper as she asked me what Andrea’s name was.  She then gave me a phone number for Andrea to call as well as the woman’s name that Andrea should speak to.  When Andrea was able to call some time later, this woman said, “Oh yes, Andrea.  I have your file here on my desk.”  Andrea was so surprised!  “What file?” she thought.  Seems the woman I had met talked to this person and they started a file before even talking to Andrea.  It was amazing!  Andrea interviewed and got the job right away.

As time went on and several years passed, Andrea had gained much experience at that job as well as two others before being accepted into grad school.  She was finally sure that molecular biology/genetics was where she wanted to focus.  But it was easy to wonder if all the time and energy devoted to the ER and a doctor’s office was a waste.  But since that time, she has seen over and over that her clinical experience gave her advantages and opened doors that she never realized would happen. 

As believers and followers of Christ, we know that if we are walking in obedience to the Lord then nothing is a waste.  We know in our head that “ALL things work together for good.”  But sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that promise when the steps we’re taking are uncertain and even painful.  What we know in our head often doesn’t reach our hearts very easily. 

I liken it to looking ahead as we walk but seeing no clear path.  It reminds me of our walkway in our back yard.  In one direction there is no path.

But when I look behind me, I see how the bricks were carefully laid to make a clear walkway.

 We put one foot in front of the other as we launch out into the unknown.  Really, each new day is unknown to us.  We have no idea what will happen to us in any given day.  What is important is to walk in obedience to God as we trust Him to open and shut doors.

As the days and the years pass by, we too can look behind us and see how all things fit together in our life to make a beautiful pattern.  Each piece fits just where God meant it to fit.

But sometimes the beauty comes as a result of great pain.  God’s purposes are often more fully accomplished through suffering. 

In Acts 23, the Apostle Paul was arrested for preaching the gospel.  Through a series of events he was transferred from Jerusalem to Caesarea, and from there to Rome.  All along the journey, Paul was able to preach the gospel to the highest levels of government.  A normal missionary journey would probably not have opened those doors, but Paul’s suffering and imprisonment did provide the opening for sharing the gospel in ways unthought of and unplanned by Paul. 

D.L. Bock writes about how this incident in Paul’s life was rooted in God’s providence.  But he adds that providence does not always mean physical rescue.  “It is one of the mysteries of providence that many times we cannot see why things are happening as they are.  Yet God is surely at work in ways that we could not have planned for ourselves.”

May each of us, as we find ourselves at the end of our known and seen path…as we get ready to walk into the uncharted areas of life…fully trust that God knows best.

            If we could push ajar the gates of life,

            And stand within, and all God’s working see,

            We might interpret all this doubt and strife,

            And for each mystery could find a key.

            But not today.  Then be content poor heart;

            God’s plans, like lilies pure and white, unfold.

            We must not tear the close-shut leaves, apart –

            Time will reveal the calyxes of gold.

            And when, through patient toil, we reach the land

            Where tired feet, with sandals loosed, may rest,

            There we shall truly know and understand,

            And there shall gladly say, ‘Our God knows best.’  (Anon.)

Author: Patty hesaidwhatks

I'm Patty and I write about our adult son who has Epilepsy and Autism, who still lives with my husband and me, and who is a package full of many surprises and joys and challenges and TALK! Lots of talking, which creates laughter and some other reactions as well. I also write about how God shows Himself to me in everyday life.

14 thoughts on “Looking Back”

  1. I find this so true “all things fit together in our life to make a beautiful pattern. Each piece fits just where God meant it to fit.” The overwhelming and life-changing moments, when looked back upon, do become a beautiful pattern, a mosaic all tied together.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What the enemy meant for evil, God used for good in the life of the Apostle Paul. I’m speculating, but I bet Paul had days when he wondered, “What is God up to? Why is He leaving me in prison?” Humanly speaking, he could have reached more people if he hadn’t been in chains, BUT God had people on the outside doing the work of the Gospel! I don’t “get it” sometimes, but I KNOW that I KNOW God’s ways are perfect! Struggles keep us close to the Savior!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh Patty!! Beautiful! I’m in awe right now…we’re in the middle of trying to sell our camper and long story short it’s been stressful and I’ve been more focused on the mess than God…But a family has been messaging me about the camper all day long ..I finally laid down for bed and was reading your post and I was at the spot that talks about “we know that if we’re walking in obedience with the Lord than nothing is a waste ..and all things work together for good..”
    …at that point a message notification pops up from the lady that’s been messaging me all day and she says they’ll take the camper, paying cash🙏❤️🙏❤️

    Love this because once I finally let it go and focused solely on Him my heart was where it should be and He worked it all out without me!!
    Love how God works things out and the story with your daughter was so sweet how it all played out — just as God planned!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just have to share this…I was finally winding down from the day last night when I read your post…our camper was supposed to sell a few days ago but the guy backed out last minute, his vehicle couldn’t pull it..I’d been whining and annoyed and more focused on this camper deal than God…In the meantime another family had began messaging me about the camper all yesterday but a sale didn’t seem promising..I finally laid down for bed but was reading your post and I was at the spot that talks about “we know that if we’re walking in obedience with the Lord than nothing is a waste..and all things work together for good..”
    …at that point a message notification popped up from the lady that’d been messaging me all day and she said they’ll take the camper, paying cash🙏❤️🙏❤️

    Love this because once I finally let it go and focused solely on Him (through reading your post) my heart was where it should be and He worked it all out without me❤️ Thanks for sharing this sweet post Patty.

    Liked by 1 person

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