We occasionally sing those words concerning God, from the song “Way Maker”, and there’s no question about their truth because even when you and I are asleep, it does not mean God is asleep.
Quite the contrary, as David declares in Psalm 121…
“He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and for evermore.”
It’s perpetual, it’s eternal, because He is eternal…!
But we also know that there is no word in scripture that promises us a “problem-free” life, even if we are followers of Jesus, having committed our lives to Him, dedicating ourselves to serving Him! There are several passages which make it clear we should not allow ourselves to fall under any false impressions in this respect, for example…
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:3-4
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
And, as most of you know, I had opportunity to again prove God’s faithfulness at the beginning of 2022 when, during my visit to Sierra Leone, I suffered a running accident that resulted in a dislocated hip. Which, although the dislocation was “reduced”, I ended up bedridden for five weeks with no access to genuinely good medical services. At the end of that time, I was medevaced back to the UK for treatment here which was, as always, excellent.
Physically, the whole experience was at times quite stressful. Initially the pain levels were quite high, as you can no doubt imagine, but I can honestly say that throughout the whole time I experienced such an almost overwhelming level of peace that it could only have been God’s hand at work…!
Now, that in itself could be the end of this particular story; but, as I said at the beginning, “even when we don’t see it, He’s working”, and the additional part of it centres around a young man named Daniel, who was 19 years old at the time.
He has never been a Lifeline Nehemiah kid, although he did attend Lifeline School, but he was the person who took responsibility for “nursing” me during the whole period I was immobile there in Freetown. He took it upon himself to look after all my physical needs – even for the night, saying, “If you need anything grandpa, just wake me up”.
Later that year, Daniel started a three-year Nursing Diploma Course, and although I knew it, I never actually questioned him as to why he had chosen that path, thinking he may have been influenced in that direction because his “adopted” father, who was previously the Lifeline School’s Manager, is now studying to be a doctor.
Because Daniel had previously been studying IT, through the Lifeline Betteh Tumara project, I recently decided to ask him what had inspired him to take this different path and, to my surprise, his three-fold answer started with him saying it was because of the time he had spent being my nurse-carer.
His other reasons were: first, the shock of seeing how dispassionate and often unprofessional the general nursing staff were in the hospital facilities I was taken to after the accident. Secondly, a stirring in his spirit to train as a medical professional and dedicate himself to making a difference in the system there, being an example of excellence to others in the service.
When I was going through my “trials of many kinds”, I was completely aware of God’s faithfulness and continue to be eternally grateful to Him. But at that time, I had no idea what was stirring in Daniel’s spirit, and I thank God for what He is doing in that young man – reports from his college tutors accredit him as being an outstanding student…!
Would I have chosen to go through the difficult, uncomfortable events of last year? – no, of course not!
Could I have ever imagined God would use my circumstances to set Daniel on this chosen path? – no, of course not!
But God is always at work, as Jesus Himself said in John 5:17, “My Father is always working, and so am I”…!
So, whatever your circumstances at any point in time might be, don’t simply seek God for His end result for you; have an expectation that as He carries you through, He may also be using those events to change the direction of someone else’s life…
“Even when we don’t see it, He’s working”…!