Religion column: Our ways not always God’s ways

I have always cherished the Bible verse found in Psalm 31:14-15. It reads: “I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God. My times are in your hands.’” (Psalm 31:14-15) This verse tells me that the times of our lives are really in God’s hands and our ways are not always God’s ways.

I heard a true story last week that illustrates this spiritual concept well.

A young college student had been working and saving for years to participate in a mission trip to Asia. Because “Mary” was of meager means, she had worked at various jobs from baby-sitting to becoming the night custodian at a real estate company. Her work schedule meant that Mary had to sacrifice activities with her friends. At times she was discouraged but never lost sight of her goal. Her goal? Planting new Christian churches in Asia with a group of young colleagues.

After months of working to pay for college and long hours of being a nanny and custodian and other jobs, her scrimping and saving paid off. After graduation, it was time to leave for Asia. Her enthusiasm for the mission trip was apparent to all of those she knew on campus.

The day of departure came and Mary packed her modest belongings and headed for the airport to meet her group. Her luggage didn’t match, her cash was limited, and she had made the best of the clothes she had. Her spirits however were soaring! Mary’s lifelong dream of being a church planter was coming true.

Mary located her seat on the plane, and settled in for a long, yet thrilling experience in Asia. All was well. Yet as the plane took off, Mary began feeling ill. She reached for a bag in case she became sick. That is all she remembers. The next memory Mary has is of a passenger, who was also young doctor, holding her hand as she lay stretched out on the floor of the plane. Mary had passed out and was unconscious for about 3 minutes. The doctor was calmly speaking to her saying, “I am a doctor and I am taking care of you. I have been praying for you. An ambulance is meeting us at the airport. You are going to be OK.”

Mary was admitted to the hospital and received a battery of tests. It was determined she had a nasty case of the flu. Why Mary? Why now? Optimism overcame her disappointment. Mary was determined to locate the doctor who had prayed for her and cared for her on the plane. After a series of phone calls and emails, Mary located the doctor and his home phone number. Mary called the number and explained to his young wife who she was. His wife began to weep. She told Mary that the young doctor had lost his own father a year ago to the exact day. Because the young doctor had been very close to his only remaining parent, he had become despondent with his father’s death, and he had even considered giving up his medical career. The doctor was on his way to take his board certification tests, yet inwardly doubted if his life’s medical profession was the right choice for him.

Through her tears, the young wife explained to Mary that the experience on the airplane, on the one year anniversary of his father’s death, had changed his life. The doctor now knew that God had truly called him into a career in medicine, and that he could bless others through his skill. From that point on, the young doctor was committed to showing the love of Christ to his patients.

Our ways are not always God’s ways.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: