I heard Aaron’s first seizure at 4:00 a.m. night before last. I went in to be with him until it was over, assuring that he was safe. And always, when this happens, my fuzzy sleepy brain tries to remember what plans I had for the upcoming day, and how those plans may need to be re-arranged. Usually one seizure means others will follow, though in recent days that hasn’t been the case. We just never know.
Not long after Gary left for work, I heard Aaron getting out of bed. He came downstairs, eyes very droopy and tired, with his typical post-seizure headache and stomach ache his first concern. I told him that he should go back to bed.
“I can’t,” he replied. “I’ve already put my time in my notebook.”
You see, Aaron keeps a log of the exact times that he goes to bed and the exact times that he gets out of bed. Every. Single. Day.
In his rigid and organized world, he needs a period of time before he will go back to bed. I know not to fight this.
Aaron went about his morning as best he could, with me listening closely for another seizure. His falling seizures sometimes occur after only having one seizure during the night, so I was on full alert.
I was hoping that Aaron could go to his day group. Friday is movie day and he enjoys that. But he didn’t feel like going anywhere, he said, and I could see that he really was struggling. Besides, if he had a seizure while out with his group, that could be very dangerous.
I knew that my day now needed to be changed, my plans shuffled or canceled. Nothing in my day was hard to change, but it was inconvenient…and not only for me, but for my friend whom I was going to see after dropping Aaron off at Paradigm. My day would have been: take Aaron to Paradigm; go to Lolly’s house for a visit; run to Aldi for some groceries before our weekend snow comes; home with groceries; pick Aaron up from the theater; take Aaron to Wal-Mart for his “end-of-week” snacks; zip into Sam’s; and home.
Changing this day was far easier than having to reschedule a doctor appointment, for instance. Yet having to switch from Plan A to Plan B can be irritating and at times difficult. Poor Aaron can’t help any of this. I’ve learned to be flexible. And to be thankful that I don’t have to work, as having a job would be impossible.
As it turned out, Lolly came to my house. She even brought some delicious little Brazilian cheesy bread balls that she learned to make during her years as a missionary with her husband in Brazil. And cake!!! She brought me…oh, and Gary 😊…some cake!!!
I was able to later run Aaron to Burger King for a take-out meal, knowing that if he had a seizure at least he was sitting down in the van. Later, as he napped, he did have a second seizure. I was so thankful that he was in his bed, safe from falling down! And in the evening, we got to make our Wal-Mart trip. Gary went with us so that we could both keep an eye on Aaron. It was fun! And Aaron wanted to make sure that I took a picture of him with this turkey breast that he LOVED for some funny reason!
Not every Plan B in life is fun, though. Many times, our switch from Plan A to Plan B is pretty devastating, and certainly not easy. And as believers, we know that God has a plan and a purpose on this path upon which He places us. Yet He never said that our path will be rosy. Most often, it is not.
God told us to take up our cross and follow Him. He did not say to take up our basket of May flowers and follow Him.
One of the most impacting books I have ever read is The Cup and the Glory, written by Greg Harris. Harris talks about what it means to follow Christ. Drinking the cup of suffering is what brings glory to God and great growth to us as His followers.
In Acts 16, during Paul’s second missionary journey, we see a profound example of God’s perplexing leading in Paul’s travels. Blessings had been abundant to Paul and Timothy. The Greek phrasing in verses 5-8 is so telling. The words “on the one hand” are soon followed by the words “on the other hand.”
On the one hand, churches were growing and being strengthened…but on the other hand, as Paul tried to travel to Asia, he was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to go there. Later, as Paul and Timothy tried to go to Bithynia, they were once again stopped by God. They finally ended up in Troas, where they never intended to go.
That road to Troas led through high mountains and was very difficult. Why did God take Paul away from his intended destination, only to place him in such a strenuous and uncertain place? Why did Paul and Timothy have to walk so long and so wearily through barren land full of dangers, and with no ministry taking place?
But Paul walked. He kept walking in faith and in obedience to God, not understanding the reasons but fully understanding that God knew those reasons, and that was all that mattered.
Harris says, “It’s easy to walk with God when He exhibits the visible hand of His blessing. However, Jesus calls us actively and continually to walk with Him – even when we can sense neither His presence nor His blessing – and not merely when you see Him feed the 5,000.”
Our goal in life should be to keep our eyes on God, not on our destination. We may head one way, a God-honoring way, only to be re-directed by God onto another path. Keeping our eyes on God during those disappointing times is key to experiencing His peace in the middle of our puzzling questions.
Our main goal on our journey is to be God Himself. To know Him, to honor Him, to serve Him…wherever we are…is where we need to be focused. God alone. Through our questions, our tears, our concerns, our anger…God knows, and He cares, and He has a purpose. His purpose is far greater than we will likely ever know on this earth.
Plan A? Not today.
But on the other hand, Plan B!!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Prov. 3:5-6