VACATIONS AND DIVINE APPOINTMENTS

In recognition of the 2 year anniversary of The Ruminant Scribe, I am reposting the first blog post dated April 15, 2015:  VACATIONS AND DIVINE APPOINTMENTS posted April 15, 2015

Sometimes we plan one thing only to find that God’s plan is a bit different than what we had intended. That was our experience when we, and another couple from church, flew to Anchorage, Alaska for an Alaskan train tour!

Day one of the tour was a train trip to Healy, Alaska where, the next day, we would board a bus for a 13-hour tour of the Denali National Park.

Mt. McKinley from train to Denali National Park
Mt. McKinley from train on the way to Denali National Park.

This is a view of Mt. McKinley [now known as Mt. Denali] from the train on the way to the national park. God’s handiwork was on display with mountains, streams, lakes, and wild animals that were everywhere to be seen. At lunch, we visited with a family traveling on a mission trip to an Eskimo village. We talked about our faith, churches, missions, and our tour day transformed into a personal time of worship and praise as we thanked the Lord for His goodness and power.

Then it happened – as we were preparing to get back on the bus for the return trip along the 92.5 mile road to exit the park (there is only 1 road in/out) – I fell down three steps onto a wooden deck. Not a long way, but it was far enough to severely break my left ankle. This ended our participation in the tour and it marked the beginning of a marvelous adventure with the Lord and an outpouring of love from Christians we did not know and who, even now, we cannot identify.

Fellow-travelers came up to me as I sat with ice bags on my ankle, and they simply touched my shoulder and said “we’re praying for you”.   The mission family repeatedly said they were praying during the balance of the trip. One man who saw me fall said he was praying for healing and for my back and head, due to the severity of the fall.

The park ranger/EMT arrived and tended to my ankle, getting me into the first of three ambulances I would ride to the Park exit. He was a tender, caring young man, notwithstanding his bulletproof vest and sidearm (the ranger also is the law enforcement officer in the park). We spoke of God’s intervention and protection as it appeared that my back and head were not injured.

Over 5 hours after I fell, we exited the Park only to find that the clinic in Healy had a doctor but no x-ray available for treatment so clinic personnel called for a taxi to take us to the hospital in Anchorage (it was either that or Fairbanks as the closest x-ray facilities), and the office assistant promised to pray for healing.

The taxi driver was a wonderful Christian lady who had moved from San Antonio to Anchorage with her mother and sibling when she was very young. We had an incredible time speaking of the Lord’s hand in her life and in ours. We said we would pray for her children and grandchildren and she said she would pray for healing and successful treatment of my ankle. The 6-hour trip through the night was transformed from a mere taxi ride to a time of praise for our Sovereign God.

We reached the Emergency Room at Anchorage Regional Hospital 12 hours after my fall. The ER was empty and we were met at the door by a nurse with a wheel chair.   They expertly treated my ankle, contacted a trauma orthopedic surgeon and made a doctor’s appointment for Thursday with surgery the following day. There, too, various persons gave encouragement and promised to pray for us during our time in Alaska. The flight home was scheduled for Sunday.

For various reasons we needed much more than merely medical assistance. For example, we had hotel reservations for that evening in Anchorage, but since we were on a train tour, we had reservations at different hotels at the various stops along the tour. It was obvious that our tour was over. Thus, we had no hotel room for the rest of the week before our flight home, and no rooms could be found in the Anchorage hotels since we were there at the height of tourist season. But God was in control.

The nursing supervisor saw us sitting in the hallway and asked if she could help us. She was able to arrange for us to stay at the Alaska House, the 7th floor of the hospital which was available for families of patients who could not get home due to the long distances involved in getting medical care in Alaska. (Remember, 6 hours away from the national park!) When we checked into the Alaska House on August 6, we found out that the program was being eliminated on August 30. God was in control, even over the contractor’s schedule so that the room was available when we needed it!

Multiple people we met offered assistance and said they would pray – the family on a mission trip, a minister friend of our son-in-law’s brother who lived in Anchorage, a young server at a neighborhood restaurant who gave my name to her mother’s prayer circle and then asked permission to do so, the counter clerk at the Subway in the hospital cafeteria, to name just a few.   In short, what started out as a simple vacation turned into a series of “Divine Appointments.”

On Saturday, before our Sunday flight, we drove along the Seward Highway in an attempt to salvage some sightseeing during our visit to the state. The sky was overcast and there had been rain along the way. As we rounded a curve, we saw a beautiful landscape rainbow. The clouds were above the rainbow and the ground was beneath: it appeared to be hovering over the ground. Bill stopped the car and grabbed the camera, as we looked out the window in awe at the beautiful display of God’s handiwork. He took the picture and it appeared that the rainbow was around the next curve as well. We drove to that spot but it was not visible; when we returned to the place of this picture, it was gone.

Landscape Rainbow, Seward Highway, Alaska
Landscape Rainbow, Seward Highway, Alaska

When I saw the rainbow, my spirit soared. It was as if God had sent that bow in the sky to remind me that there is no place that escapes His presence and to also remind me that He was present in my accident, pain and confusion. Further, He was providing an illustration through His creation of His protection for me. Yes, I had fallen and broken my ankle; that is the rain cloud. But, He was between me and the cloud – His protection was covering me so that I did not receive significant back or head injuries. It was yet again further confirmation that He is in control and I am in His care, no matter how the circumstances may appear.

In Luke 12:6-7, Jesus said: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” David says: “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.” In Psalms 139:4. If you want to know whether God cares about you, just ruminate on these statements from Scripture! (Even I don’t know every word before it is on my tongue! Oh for the times that I have spoken without thinking of the words I was saying …, but I digress!)

When the rainbow disappeared, it was a reminder that God’s presence is always with us, even though it is not always obvious to us at the time. The rainbow did not need to be stationary for a long time to accomplish God’s purpose – it just needed to be visible when we rounded the corner.

Often we tend to look at our situation in our microcosm of life and our focus is limited to that which we see here and now. We work and are active in our assigned tasks but we do not see what God is doing elsewhere. Praise the Lord – He is alive and well and His church can be found all over the place, even in the “wilds” of Alaska.   Praise the Lord that we had our eyes open to see His visible promise of protection. If we had been drowning in self-pity, we would have missed His beautiful presence. He knows where we are and what we are doing, and He will send His messengers to give comfort and reassurance to us, even if that comes in the form of a rainbow.

What my husband and I saw of Alaska was beautiful; but what we experienced through God’s Divine Appointments was enriching beyond measure. Praise the Lord!

I pray that no matter what you are going through at this moment, you will be encouraged by the knowledge that He will be your strength through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.   Open your eyes, you might just see a rainbow sheltering you from the storm clouds of life!

Father, two years after this was originally written, this is still my prayer.  Thank You for loving us and for sending Your Son so He could prepare the way for us to live with You eternally, through faith in Him alone.

Repost – Vacations and Divine Appointments

Sometimes we need to remember a point in our life when things were a bit difficult, shall we say, so that we can reflect on all that our Lord has done in and for us.  One such time was a trip to Alaska that was to be one week of train tours, but it wound up being filled with doctor appointments, waiting and surgery.  I present a repost of the blog written two years ago, detailing our vacation and the “divine appointments” that followed.  I pray that it will be an encouragement and a blessing to you as you begin this new year.


 

Have you ever planned one thing only to find that God’s plan is a bit different from what you expected?  That was our experience when we, and another couple from church,  flew to Anchorage, Alaska for an Alaskan train tour!

Day one of the tour was a train trip to Healy, Alaska where, the next day, we would board a bus for a 13-hour tour of the Denali National Park. [DSC_0187This is a view of Mt. McKinley from the train on the way to the national park. (The name of the mountain was changed since this post was first written and it is now Denali.)] God’s handiwork was on display with mountains, streams, lakes, and wild animals that were everywhere to be seen. At lunch, we visited with a family traveling on a mission trip to an Eskimo village. We talked about our faith, churches, missions, and our tour day transformed into a personal time of worship and praise as we thanked the Lord for His goodness and power.

Then it happened – as we were preparing to get back on the bus for the return trip along the 92.5 mile road to exit the park (there is only 1 road in/out) – I fell down three steps onto a wooden deck. Not a long way, but it was far enough to severely break my left ankle. While our tour was over, a marvelous adventure with the Lord was just beginning as we experienced an outpouring of love from Christians we did not know and who, even now, we cannot identify.

Fellow-travelers came up to me as I sat with ice bags on my ankle, and they simply touched my shoulder and said “we’re praying for you”.   The mission family repeatedly said they would pray for me during the balance of the trip. One man who saw me fall said he was praying for healing and for my back and head, due to the severity of the fall.  (He had no idea that I had undergone significant back surgery 3 years earlier,  with the surgeon instructing “Don’t fall!”)

The park ranger/EMT arrived and tended to my ankle, getting me into the first of three ambulances I would ride to the Park exit. He was a tender, caring young man, notwithstanding his bulletproof vest and sidearm (the ranger also is the law enforcement officer in the park). We spoke of God’s intervention and protection as it appeared that my back and head were not injured. 

Over 5 hours after I fell, we exited the Park only to find that the clinic in Healy had a doctor but no x-ray available for treatment so clinic personnel called for a taxi to take us to the hospital in Anchorage (it was either that or Fairbanks as the closest x-ray facilities), and the office assistant promised to pray for healing.

The taxi driver was a wonderful Christian lady who had moved from San Antonio to Anchorage with her mother and sibling when she was very young. We had an incredible time speaking of the Lord’s hand in her life and in ours. We said we would pray for her children and grandchildren and she said she would pray for healing and successful treatment of my ankle. The 6-hour trip through the night was transformed from a mere taxi ride to a time of praise for our Sovereign God.

We reached the Emergency Room at Anchorage Regional Hospital 12 hours after my fall. The ER was empty and we were met at the door by a nurse with a wheel chair, and shortly thereafter the first pain medication was given.  They expertly treated my ankle, contacted a trauma orthopedic surgeon and made a doctor’s appointment for Thursday with surgery the following day. There, too, various persons gave encouragement and promised to pray for us during our time in Alaska. The flight home was scheduled for Sunday.

For various reasons we needed much more than merely medical assistance. For example, we had hotel reservations for that evening in Anchorage, but since we were on a train tour, we had reservations at different hotels at the various stops along the tour. It was obvious that our tour was over. Thus, we had no hotel room for the rest of the week before our flight home, and no rooms could be found in the Anchorage hotels since we were there at the height of tourist season. But God was in control.

The nursing supervisor saw us sitting in the hallway and asked if she could help us. She was able to arrange for us to stay at the Alaska House, the 7th floor of the hospital which was available for families of patients who could not get home due to the long distances involved in getting medical care in Alaska. (Remember, 6 hours away from the national park!) When we checked into the Alaska House on August 6, we found out that the program was being eliminated on August 30. God was in control, even over the contractor’s schedule so that the room was available when we needed it!

Multiple people we met offered assistance and said they would pray –  a minister friend of our son-in-law’s brother who lived in Anchorage, a young server at a neighborhood restaurant who gave my name to her mother’s prayer circle and then asked permission to do so, the counter clerk at the Subway in the hospital cafeteria, to name just a few.   In short, what started out as a simple vacation turned into a series of “Divine Appointments.”

On Saturday, before our Sunday flight, we drove along the Seward Highway in an attempt to salvage some sightseeing during our visit to the state. The sky was overcast and there had been rain along th?????????????????????????????????????????e way. As we rounded a curve, we saw a beautiful landscape rainbow. The clouds were above the rainbow and the ground was beneath: it appeared to be hovering over the ground. Bill stopped the car and grabbed the camera, as we looked out the window in awe at the beautiful display of God’s handiwork. 

When I saw the rainbow, my spirit soared. It was as if God had sent that bow in the sky to remind me that there is no place that escapes His presence and to also remind me that He was present in my accident, pain and confusion. Further, He was providing an illustration through His creation of His protection for me. Yes, I had fallen and broken my ankle; that is the rain cloud. But, He was between me and the cloud – His protection was covering me so that I did not receive significant back or head injuries. It was yet again further confirmation that He is in control and I am in His care, no matter how the circumstances may appear.

After Bill took the picture, it appeared that the rainbow was around the next curve as well. We drove to that spot but it was not visible.  When we returned to the place of this picture, it was gone.  God had given us His message.  He didn’t need to repeat it!

In Luke 12:6-7, Jesus said:

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

David says:

“Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.”

Psalms 139:4.

If you want to know whether God cares about you, just ruminate on these statements from Scripture! (Even I don’t know every word before it is on my tongue! Oh for the times that I have spoken without thinking of the words I was saying …, but I digress!)

When the rainbow disappeared, it was a reminder that God’s presence is always with us, even though it is not always obvious to us at the time. The rainbow did not need to be stationary for a long time to accomplish God’s purpose – it just needed to be visible when we rounded the corner.

Often we tend to look at our situation in our microcosm of life and our focus is limited to that which we see here and now. We work and are active in our assigned tasks but we do not see what God is doing elsewhere. Praise the Lord – He is alive and well and His church can be found all over the place, even in the “wilds” of Alaska.   Praise the Lord that we had our eyes open to see His visible promise of protection. If we had been drowning in self-pity, we would have missed His beautiful presence. He knows where we are and what we are doing, and He will send His messengers to give comfort and reassurance to us, even if that comes in the form of a rainbow.

What my husband and I saw of Alaska was beautiful; but what we experienced through God’s Divine Appointments was enriching beyond measure. Praise the Lord!

I pray that no matter what you are going through at this moment, you will be encouraged by the knowledge that He will be your strength through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.   Open your eyes, you might just see a rainbow sheltering you from the storm clouds of life!

Father, we praise Your Name and thank You for Your presence with us even when we are unaware of it.  Thank You for Your people who minister to others.  May I be a witness in ministry to others today, and each day that You give to me as I live out life in the fullness of Your Church, through the power of Your Holy Spirit. 

PEACE IN THE STORM!

We have just experienced an incredible rain deluge in the Carolinas along the Southeastern coast of the United States. According to the National Weather Service, one area of downtown Columbia, South Carolina, received nearly 17 inches of rain in 17 hours, and it was still raining. This rain was not the result of a hurricane or tornado, but the rain came from storm systems that collided and hovered over the area, dumping multiple inches of rain per hour.

Storms are not uncommon – we know that, and we depend on the rain to provide fresh water for the animals, including us, to drink and to provide water to irrigate the vegetation on our world, thereby providing food for us. Indeed, without water, we would be in real trouble, to say the least.

Storm clouds over Lookout Rock, Colorado
Storm clouds over Lookout Rock, Colorado

Even though storms are an everyday experience, even heading directly into a storm is frightening!  The power that the storm unleashes is awesome and can be unnerving. The howling wind and driving rain, along with lightning and thunder, create anxiety if not outright fear in our hearts. Severe storms occur over land and over the seas, their power is fearsome and their scope is immense.

Driving into the rainstorm in Mississippi
Driving into the rainstorm in Mississippi

Scripture tells us that God created the heavens and the earth, including the ocean or sea.

“And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so.   God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:9-10 [ESV].

Ocean storm in the distance
Ocean storm in the distance

In Psalms 24:1-2, David says: “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.[NLT]

Jesus illustrates His power throughout the Gospels of Scripture, but one of the stories that I often think of is recorded in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 4. Jesus and his disciples were crossing to the other side of the sea.

Sailboat in the ocean
Sailboat in the ocean

A violent storm overtook them; in fact, it was so severe that Mark says that the waves beat into the boat so that it was full! Although I am not a marine expert, even I can understand that the situation Mark described was dire!  Imagine being in that boat, with the wind howling, the waves churning and the boat filling up with water. The expert fishermen‐now‐turned‐disciples were afraid for their very lives. This was no ordinary storm – it was fierce, they were afraid.

Ocean waves
Ocean waves

Jesus, on the other hand, was sleeping – no fear here!   When the disciples woke Him in their wide‐eyed fear, Jesus stood up and ordered the sea to be still.

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Mark 4:39. [KJV]

While I would have screamed at the sea, Jesus simply spoke and nature had its marching orders. Jesus essentially said “that’s enough.” He didn’t flail around waving His arms and stomping his feet. He was, at all times, in control. He simply spoke the words and directed the sea to “be still”.

It is encouraging to me to note that the sea’s response was not delayed until the storm naturally dissipated or moved away from the water. Further, the directive was not ignored. Jesus was in control: He spoke and the sea obeyed, immediately.

Rainbow in the sky after the storm on the ocean
Rainbow in the sky after the storm on the ocean

Notwithstanding the miracles Jesus had consistently been demonstrating, Scripture says that the disciples asked each other “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!” Mark 4:41. [NIV] Of course, the answer to their question is that Jesus is the Creator, the One in whom we have our being, He is the Word made flesh, and He is our Savior.

When I look at the deluge of rain the Carolinas experienced this week, I am reminded that my Savior is Lord over all. He is sovereign, even over storms. I don’t know why this one attacked so fiercely, but I do believe that God is with those affected by the storm, and He will enable, sustain and encourage them if they turn to Him through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Landscape Rainbow, Alaska
Landscape Rainbow beneath the storm clouds in Alaska

The storms and seas of this world, with their incredible expanse and surpassing power, obey Jesus’ voice. And He, through His Holy Spirit, is with me in every circumstance — His voice that calmed the sea will calm my own heart and fears. Whatever flood overwhelms me, whether it be water, problems, illness, finances or circumstance, my Lord is in control.

Trust Him ‐‐ even when you feel that your boat is sinking! His voice is still powerful! He can still say “Peace, be still.”

Father, I praise Your Name that You sent Jesus to be my Savior. Jesus, I praise Your Name that You obeyed and became the sacrifice for my sin. Holy Spirit, thank You for being with me every step of the way, and for holding me close, even in the fiercest storm.

                                              

OCEANS – WHETHER FEARFUL OR PEACEFUL, ALWAYS UNDER GOD’S CONTROL

What exactly is the ocean? Merriam Webster defines it as “the whole body of salt water that covers nearly three fourths of the surface of the earth, or any of the large bodies of water (as the Atlantic Ocean) into which the great ocean is divided.” [http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ocean]  But, somehow this definition does not even come close to capturing the essence of the ocean, does it.  It does not account for the pounding waves that keep coming ashore with their relentless hammering of the coastline, dissolving the rocks into grains of sand, and destroying even the most well-intentioned child’s sand castle!

Standing in waves on Oregon coast
Standing in waves on Oregon coast

We drove along the Oregon coastline and saw the waves pounding against the side of the mountains, receding back into the ocean body as if it had accomplished nothing. But then we would look at the sand along the beach and we could see the result of the wave’s incessant pounding.

Oregon 2009 251 Coos Bay beach

The sand dunes at Coos Bay, Oregon are mind-numbing in magnitude and sheer volume.   The dunes are literally mountains of sand.

Oregon Sand Dunes - mountains of sand
Oregon Sand Dunes – mountains of sand

The Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area website notes that there are “40 miles of wind-sculpted, shifting sand dunes!” Some of these mountains of sand tower 500 feet above sea level. They are like no other dunes in the world and comprise the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America. “The strong elemental forces of tides, waves and winds have been constantly moving the sand for centuries – up to two and a half miles inland in places!” [See http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/siuslaw/recarea/?recid=42465 ]

Coos Bay Sand Dune
Coos Bay Sand Dune

Webster’s antiseptic definition doesn’t account for the majesty of the ocean, the pure scope of it; the power of the water as it becomes a hurricane, or the tranquility of the water’s surface at sundown with clouds showing vibrant colors as the sun descends from view.   Here we were watching the sun set from a ship off the New England coastline.

Ocean sunset from ship with distant lighthouse
Ocean sunset from ship with distant lighthouse

Scripture tells us that God created the heavens and the earth, including the ocean or sea.

“And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so.   God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:9-10 [ESV]

In Psalms 24:1-2, David says:

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.[NLT]

When I look at the ocean, I am reminded that my Savior is Lord over all. The ocean and seas of this world, with their incredible expanse and surpassing power, came into being at the power of His voice and they obey His voice, even today. If the oceans of my life are turbulent, and fear engulfs my heart and mind, I must remember that all of creation came into existence at the power of His voice.

That same Creator God is with us in every circumstance. God is in control and we can be confident that whatever flood overwhelms us, whether it be water, problems, illness, finances, relationships, employment, or some other circumstance, our Lord is in control.

Rainbow across the ocean
Rainbow across the ocean

Trust Him, even when you feel that the ocean of despair has flooded your heart. Pray, ask Him for help. His voice is still powerful! The power that created the seas of the world can create peace within you.

Look to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Sovereign of this world and the Prince of Peace who also happens to be the Lover of your Soul. Let Him calm the storm of doubt and fear when He provides His rainbow of love, peace, assurance and security.

Praise His holy name!

Vacations and Divine Appointments.

Sometimes we plan one thing only to find that God’s plan is a bit different than what we had intended. That was our experience when we, and another couple from church,  flew to Anchorage, Alaska for an Alaskan train tour!

Day one of the tour was a train trip to Healy, Alaska where, the next day, we would board a bus for a 13-hour tour of the Denali National Park. [DSC_0187This is a view of Mt. McKinley from the train on the way to the national park.] God’s handiwork was on display with mountains, streams, lakes, and wild animals that were everywhere to be seen. At lunch, we visited with a family traveling on a mission trip to an Eskimo village. We talked about our faith, churches, missions, and our tour day transformed into a personal time of worship and praise as we thanked the Lord for His goodness and power.

Then it happened – as we were preparing to get back on the bus for the return trip along the 92.5 mile road to exit the park (there is only 1 road in/out) – I fell down three steps onto a wooden deck. Not a long way, but it was far enough to severely break my left ankle. This ended our participation in the tour and it marked the beginning of a marvelous adventure with the Lord and an outpouring of love from Christians we did not know and who, even now, we cannot identify.

Fellow-travelers came up to me as I sat with ice bags on my ankle, and they simply touched my shoulder and said “we’re praying for you”.   The mission family repeatedly said they were praying during the balance of the trip. One man who saw me fall said he was praying for healing and for my back and head, due to the severity of the fall.

The park ranger/EMT arrived and tended to my ankle, getting me into the first of three ambulances I would ride to the Park exit. He was a tender, caring young man, notwithstanding his bulletproof vest and sidearm (the ranger also is the law enforcement officer in the park). We spoke of God’s intervention and protection as it appeared that my back and head were not injured.

Over 5 hours after I fell, we exited the Park only to find that the clinic in Healy had a doctor but no x-ray available for treatment so clinic personnel called for a taxi to take us to the hospital in Anchorage (it was either that or Fairbanks as the closest x-ray facilities), and the office assistant promised to pray for healing.

The taxi driver was a wonderful Christian lady who had moved from San Antonio to Anchorage with her mother and sibling when she was very young. We had an incredible time speaking of the Lord’s hand in her life and in ours. We said we would pray for her children and grandchildren and she said she would pray for healing and successful treatment of my ankle. The 6-hour trip through the night was transformed from a mere taxi ride to a time of praise for our Sovereign God.

We reached the Emergency Room at Anchorage Regional Hospital 12 hours after my fall. The ER was empty and we were met at the door by a nurse with a wheel chair.   They expertly treated my ankle, contacted a trauma orthopedic surgeon and made a doctor’s appointment for Thursday with surgery the following day. There, too, various persons gave encouragement and promised to pray for us during our time in Alaska. The flight home was scheduled for Sunday.

For various reasons we needed much more than merely medical assistance. For example, we had hotel reservations for that evening in Anchorage, but since we were on a train tour, we had reservations at different hotels at the various stops along the tour. It was obvious that our tour was over. Thus, we had no hotel room for the rest of the week before our flight home, and no rooms could be found in the Anchorage hotels since we were there at the height of tourist season. But God was in control.

The nursing supervisor saw us sitting in the hallway and asked if she could help us. She was able to arrange for us to stay at the Alaska House, the 7th floor of the hospital which was available for families of patients who could not get home due to the long distances involved in getting medical care in Alaska. (Remember, 6 hours away from the national park!) When we checked into the Alaska House on August 6, we found out that the program was being eliminated on August 30. God was in control, even over the contractor’s schedule so that the room was available when we needed it!

Multiple people we met offered assistance and said they would pray – the family on a mission trip, a minister friend of our son-in-law’s brother who lived in Anchorage, a young server at a neighborhood restaurant who gave my name to her mother’s prayer circle and then asked permission to do so, the counter clerk at the Subway in the hospital cafeteria, to name just a few.   In short, what started out as a simple vacation turned into a series of “Divine Appointments.”

On Saturday, before our Sunday flight, we drove along the Seward Highway in an attempt to salvage some sightseeing during our visit to the state. The sky was overcast and there had been rain along th?????????????????????????????????????????e way. As we rounded a curve, we saw a beautiful landscape rainbow. The clouds were above the rainbow and the ground was beneath: it appeared to be hovering over the ground. Bill stopped the car and grabbed the camera, as we looked out the window in awe at the beautiful display of God’s handiwork. He took the picture and it appeared that the rainbow was around the next curve as well. We drove to that spot but it was not visible; when we returned to the place of this picture, it was gone.

When I saw the rainbow, my spirit soared. It was as if God had sent that bow in the sky to remind me that there is no place that escapes His presence and to also remind me that He was present in my accident, pain and confusion. Further, He was providing an illustration through His creation of His protection for me. Yes, I had fallen and broken my ankle; that is the rain cloud. But, He was between me and the cloud – His protection was covering me so that I did not receive significant back or head injuries. It was yet again further confirmation that He is in control and I am in His care, no matter how the circumstances may appear.

In Luke 12:6-7, Jesus said: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” David says: “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.” In Psalms 139:4. If you want to know whether God cares about you, just ruminate on these statements from Scripture! (Even I don’t know every word before it is on my tongue! Oh for the times that I have spoken without thinking of the words I was saying …, but I digress!)

When the rainbow disappeared, it was a reminder that God’s presence is always with us, even though it is not always obvious to us at the time. The rainbow did not need to be stationary for a long time to accomplish God’s purpose – it just needed to be visible when we rounded the corner.

Often we tend to look at our situation in our microcosm of life and our focus is limited to that which we see here and now. We work and are active in our assigned tasks but we do not see what God is doing elsewhere. Praise the Lord – He is alive and well and His church can be found all over the place, even in the “wilds” of Alaska.   Praise the Lord that we had our eyes open to see His visible promise of protection. If we had been drowning in self-pity, we would have missed His beautiful presence. He knows where we are and what we are doing, and He will send His messengers to give comfort and reassurance to us, even if that comes in the form of a rainbow.

What my husband and I saw of Alaska was beautiful; but what we experienced through God’s Divine Appointments was enriching beyond measure. Praise the Lord!

I pray that no matter what you are going through at this moment, you will be encouraged by the knowledge that He will be your strength through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.   Open your eyes, you might just see a rainbow sheltering you from the storm clouds of life!