God doesn’t know the meaning of “lucky”, “coincidence” and “routine”.
He’s an on-time God Who is never late. It may be the 11th hour, but since God doesn’t work on a clock, you and I are the only ones counting the minutes.
Life happens, but God knows all along when life is going to happen. He knew it before you did and, in fact, he knew it before you were born.
It sounds like a cliche, but you didn’t surprise God. Neither did that circumstance, that situation, that sickness, that relationship problem, that financial issue or that job dilemma.
As you can read, we’ve learned a few things in 2019. Indeed, life has happened. We didn’t have to wake up God, we didn’t have to wave or shout to get his attention. In fact, we learned just hours into this journey that He had been working in the heavenlies on our behalf all along!
Just a few weeks ago, my wife Elizabeth posted this message to her friends and family on Facebook:
“July 7, 2019… the day God allowed my life to continue. The day God opened our eyes to things unseen, unfelt, unknown. The day God said ‘I’m not done with you yet.'”
Only a couple of weeks later — after a nephrectomy and removal of four lymph nodes — we could announce that she was all clear. The clear cell renal cell carcinoma (the worst possible type of cancer) was completely contained in the kidney and the lymph nodes were clear. As she wrote on July 25: “It has not spread. No radiation, no chemotherapy.👏👏 Thank you all for your prayers. They were much appreciated. Jesus had/has me in His hand. He has you too. Get to know Him if you don’t.”
So here’s our quick story:
Elizabeth was having abdominal pains on Sunday, July 7. We went to the ER, where the PA announced they would conduct a urinalysis and a CT scan. “It’s routine,” we were told. (Remember that.)
During the, umm, routine CT scan and urinalysis, they discovered a UTI. And an 8cm mass on her left kidney. We were in the urologist’s office the next morning (Monday) and he told us emphatically but calmly “It’s gotta come out.” She was in otherwise good health and he said the other kidney was fine and she’d lead an almost normal life with one kidney.
The doctor’s scheduling nurse came in a few minutes later and told us “you may want to sit down” because the surgery had been scheduled for three days later. (The doctor told us later that is the fastest turnaround he’s ever had from diagnosis-to-kidney-removal in his 20-plus year practice.)
Tuesday, we’re running more tests, Wednesday we’re doing all the surgery prep and Thursday morning at 5:30 am, we’re at Memorial Hospital preparing to give up a kidney. It’s all straight forward, matter-of-fact and right on schedule.
Frankly, the 3-4 days passed without any drama, angst, dread or stress. There were God stories and extraordinary mile markers along the way and we were confident of the outcome. (Honestly, we didn’t have time to think otherwise!)
Now, let’s talk coincidences, luck and routine, just between us guys and gals because God has no idea what we’re talking about. Those three words are not in his vocabulary.
Coincidence: A striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance.
There were a number of these so-called coincidences that week.
- A UTI when you didn’t even have all of the symptoms? If it hadn’t been for that UTI, we would have been none the wiser on the cancerous kidney…until several months from now.
- The particular hospital ER we chose. We had a couple of options, but this one “seemed” like the place to go (see Routine below).
- We were “assigned” one of the best kidney doctors in the region on a Sunday night and we saw him first thing Monday. Some 20+ years ago, he had learned and taught a new technique of hand-assisted laparoscopic kidney removal to his colleagues in Colorado Springs. We didn’t get one of his “students”, we got the professor himself!
Now for the routine, which is defined thusly: “A customary or regular course of procedure.”
- The PA at the ER said they would perform a routine CT scan to go along with the urinalysis.
- One week later, as he was discharging Elizabeth from the hospital, our doctor told us they typically don’t do these CT scans with a UTI and he doesn’t know why they did it. “Whatever they said, it is not routine,” he said.
- Say what you will, but we’ve both wondered if we were to go back to that ER if that same PA would be there. Or if she worked only the night we were there?
Now, for the lucky: “Having or marked by good luck. Fortunate.”
- Countless people — doctors, friends, nurses, accountants and others — said again and again: “Do you realize how lucky you are?” Generally, we just smiled, because we knew there was no luck involved.
- The “luck” was pronounced throughout the experience. Regarding the CT scan, the early date for surgery, the four nodes being clear, the cancer being contained to the kidney, and, of course, finding the cancer so early.
To be sure, we know what happened here. God’s grace and mercy intervened in our lives from that defining moment on July 7 until now.
- There was no coincidence, only divine appointments.
- There was no routine, only angels standing guard.
- There was no luck, only supernatural timing.
Friends, we have it backwards! All too often we invite God to operate on our timing, in our routines and our moment of need. Once again, those words aren’t in God’s vocabulary. Sure, He cares for us, He wants to see us happy and healed, He desires that we are prosperous and He has set out the abundant life before us.
In order to choose that life, however, we must embrace God’s direction and pace. Forget schedule, timetable and agenda, as well as lucky, coincidence and routine, God doesn’t use those words.
Remember, when you encounter your circumstance tomorrow or your situation next week or your dilemma next month, God has already been working in the heavenlies. On your behalf!
“The strength of a man consists in finding out the way God is going, and going that way.” ~Henry Ward Beecher.