The best laid plans

Turning to our five-year-old daughter, the lady asked her, ‘so what plans have you got for the Easter holidays?’ My mind quickly listed them all and then ticked them off one by one as she gave her answers. Each was said with as much of a smile as she could muster. These were plans that she’d spent days or even weeks getting excited over. Yet, as she answered the question my heart sank.

As we’d put her to bed that evening everything had seemed to be normal. An hour later we heard a scream from upstairs. I rushed to her room and after opening the door discovered that our daughter was no longer in bed. Instead, she was sitting on the floor at the foot of the bed. Then I noticed her arm, it just didn’t look right.

The lady’s question was asked at the hospital as we were waiting for X-ray number 2. The first had shown a double break in the forearm. Surgery was required and a further visit the following week.

Those swimming lessons she’d been waiting for, the holiday at her grandparents and the rest would no longer be possible. I knew she would be bitterly disappointed, but what could I do?

That has pretty much been the last 24 hours for me. As I sit down to write this article it is the first opportunity I’ve had to stop and think. I have to admit to a sense of helplessness.

Last night I would have loved to have been able to make my little girl’s arm all better and put her back to bed. Partly because I wanted to take the pain away, but also because it would have been a lot easier. I had plans for a quiet evening reading a book. We’d made plans for the holidays. In a moment all those plans had changed, and I could do nothing about it.

Where do you turn in times of need? Who do you go to when you realise you aren’t in control of things in the way you thought you were? The Bible tells us that God is not like us. He is not at the mercy of circumstances, nor is he powerless to bring about change.

Knowing this has been a big help to me over the last few hours and as I think about the operation tomorrow. To know that I can pray to this God, and that he is able to help me regardless of the circumstances is a certainty that I can take into the uncertainty of life.

So, I feel helpless, but I also feel thankful. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for the NHS and the staff who were so amazing last night. Most of all, I’m thankful that, as one Bible writer puts it, ‘My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.’