Proverbs 16:9 is a verse I’ve camped on for over 25 years now:
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” (NIV)
We’ve seen our steps determined (the word is translated “established” in other versions) in the past week in a couple of significant ways.
This past weekend I finally was ready to take some time and figure out my fall class schedule and register with MTS online. I ended up registering for Greek (a 3 credit hour course stretched over 14 weeks) and Systematic Theology (also a 3 credit hour course for the normal duration of 7 weeks, overlapping the last 7 weeks of Greek).
A couple days after registering for the courses, I noticed the total cost for 6 credit hours was $60 higher than it was this past school year. This made me think back to the last conversation and email I had with our home church secretary concerning my scholarship fund. I checked that email and sure enough, at last check less than a month ago the balance was $100 short of the new amount. The deadline for sending in the check from the church is fast approaching, and this is not a good time to be $100 short!
So, I wrote an email to Susie and mentioned all this to her. She wrote back this morning and said, the account balance is sitting at $790. The amount needed to fully meet the scholarship matching fund? $790. The Lord not only determines our steps, but He meets our needs exactly when the need arises. Sometimes to the penny!
The other way that the Lord determined our steps was a bit more important and dramatic.
Last week while staying two full days with friends who are ministry partners in west-central Indiana, Beth mentioned that she was struggling with her back and with headaches. They offered to take her to their chiropractor about 30 miles away for a one-time visit (that’s all the time we had since we’d be leaving the next day). Beth was happy to go for this visit to see if something helpful could be done.
The chiropractor’s visit went great, and the pain in her back and the headache went away. While there at the chiropractor’s office, they noticed a sign on the wall that announced a new doctor’s office was opening there. It was the daughter of the chiropractor who was not only a neurologist but a psychiatrist. This is the kind of specialist that Beth needs for her treatments for her essential tremor and depression. Amazingly, the office was going to open the next morning (last Thursday). While the doctor wasn’t in that day, her parents were both there and encouraged Beth to get a morning appointment for Thursday before we hit the road that day. She signed up for a 10 a.m. slot and became the new doctor’s very first-ever patient!
On Thursday, the neurologist spent over an hour with Beth and went over her history and her medications. She was mortified that Beth was taking a particular medication for the essential tremor. It was the only medication that has been working for Beth, and we had a difficult time even getting it in Mexico. It isn’t even available here in the USA (it’s an older medication). Turns out the medication isn’t available here for a reason. It causes liver damage.
So, the medication the neurologist suggested was the first one Beth tried months ago in Mexico, but that medication made her sleep about 23 hours a day. So, the first thought was “Not that again!”
Turns out the neurologist in Mexico had not prescribed it correctly. She had Beth taking 8 times the dosage she should probably have been taking. So, Beth is back to the sleepy med but at 1/8th the earlier dosage. So far she’s doing ok with it without the complete exhaustion. She has discovered that she has to take it exactly 12 hours from dose to dose or else the tremors come back. It’s not the easiest schedule to keep track of, especially while we’re not in a routine here on the road, but it’s workable.
The next day Beth did some online research and discovered 7 stages of symptoms of liver damage that would be expected from the medication she had been taking (the 7th being liver failure). She had already been experiencing the first 3 stages!
What seemed like a good solution to her essential tremors was actually killing her. (And once again we’re disturbed by the poor quality of Mexican healthcare, even though the doctors are considered the best in our area.)
So, the back and headache issues were used by God to cause our friends to suggest going to their chiropractor, which led to Beth learning about a brand-new neurologist/psychiatrist (a rare combination) practice opening the very next day, which led to getting an appointment as the very first patient (who gets a neurologist/psychiatrist office visit with treatment included on less than one day’s notice?!?), which led to this important discovery concerning her medication that was literally killing her. (Beth’s dad suffered liver failure and a transplant which led to his death by pancreatic cancer, so we’re acutely aware of the importance of a healthy liver.)
Praise God there are no accidents in our walk with Him. We planned our course by taking the trip this summer. Providentially, God changed several things in our plans in May and June to make it possible to even see these friends who were not located conveniently in our travel route. Nonetheless, I felt strongly that we should go ahead and backtrack and schedule a visit with them regardless of them not being on our route. Just a couple weeks ago, I even changed from staying with them from only 1 day to 2 days. Having only 1 day with them would not have allowed for a 2nd day visit with the chiropractor and all the rest of what the Lord had in store for us.
What can I say?
The LORD determines our steps.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!