God is in control; dealing with unexpected twists in life

We were going to begin a three-week trip on April 14 to see family and friends. We planned the route, places to stay, people to visit, and gathered maps and contact numbers. We had everything under control.

Early on April 13, we heard that a blizzard was heading our way so we called our April 14 destination and asked if we could arrive one evening earlier. With that arranged we headed out and made our destination with no problems at all. The next morning however, it was obvious that a blizzard had taken control of our world. By noon a day later than we planned, we headed out again. Then we had car problems and had to backtrack to obtain a different car. We are so thankful for the help we had but we were yet further behind.

Traveling was slow since we were following the icy path that the storm had taken before hitting North Dakota. As we were about to finally head into Colorado we hit a second blizzard that had closed the interstate. We were stranded along with lots of other motorists!

Sadly, we had to bypass our northern Colorado stop since there was a conference that my husband had paid to attend and we didn’t want to waste that. We reached other relatives south of Denver just hours before the conference began. A couple of days later my nephew came in from the garage saying, “There is quite a lot of red fluid on the garage floor.” Red fluid on a garage floor where your car was just sitting is never a good thing. It was probably the result of a mishap in Wyoming. Now repairs were needed.

After the conference we were rerouted again because of another cousin’s unexpected surgery. Everything went pretty smoothly until we were just south of Duluth, Minn., when we heard that a third blizzard was coming through. When we awoke on May 1 the ground was blanketed with snow. Fortunately, we were on the edge of this blizzard and were able to drive out of it within about 30 minutes so we made our next connections.

When we were about five hours from Minot there was a sudden strange noise accompanied by difficulty steering the vehicle. Yes, a flat tire! We changed it and traveled slowly on the “limper” watching for a shop where we could get the original fixed. When we found a shop open (on a Saturday afternoon) they looked at the tire and said it was not fixable. It took us a little longer to get back to Minot on the spare but we finally did.

Did this trip go as planned? Not as we planned but I’m sure that it went exactly as God planned. Who knows what appointment he wanted us to make along the way? Who knows what God may have protected us from by delaying us? What was his reason? We will probably never know but one thing that has been engraved in our hearts and minds is this: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil” James 4: 13-16.

As this appears in print, if it is the Lord’s will, we will be about to leave again for Germany resting comfortably in the knowledge that God is in control. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” Proverbs 16:9. We must all remember this daily.

Helen McCormack, of Minot, writes a Reflections column every six weeks. She and her husband, David, serve with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Germany.