14 years ago today is a day that remains vividly in my mind. I was in Paris and unknown to me, the day before I’d suffered a painless heart attack and it was beginning to take effect. I felt hot and claustrophobic from the time I woke up, walking was difficult and a planned full and happy day touring Paris soon became a visit to two hospitals, followed by a procedure to have two stents inserted into an artery the next day. I’ve never had a hint of a problem since and I only mention it, not for sympathy, but to show how God unfolds his plans to take care of us. Heart attacks don’t just happen, there first has to be something wrong with the heart, and that was true of mine, but it didn’t show when I was home in Wales. I firmly believe that God protected my heart until I reached Paris where I was able to be taken into hospital and treated the next day. That couldn’t have happened at home. From what I’m led to believe I could have waited months for the same treatment. As it is I was treated on a Friday and was walking along the Champs-Élysées on Saturday. My wife was also protected. She had to leave me in hospital and find her way back to our hotel which was on the other side of Paris. Thankfully, while still in the hospital she met a Polish Christian lady who lived in Paris, spoke fluent English and arranged a taxi for her. These things don’t just happen, they are evidence of our heavenly Father God taking care of his children.
God always takes care of those who are his. He did it for his own Son, Jesus. When Jesus was a toddler his life was endangered when wise men came looking for him. The Jewish King Herod heard about this and instigated a period of infanticide where every boy under the age of two was to be killed. God told Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt where he, Mary and Jesus stayed until it was safe for them to return to Israel. There are so many refugees in the world today and it’s amazing to think that Jesus was himself once a refugee.
He did it for Moses. Moses’ was also endangered by a decree from an Egyptian pharaoh to kill male babies but he was hidden in a basket on the river Nile where he was spotted and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. Remarkably, the baby due to die became a prince in Egypt.
He did it for Joseph, son of Jacob, although you wouldn’t at first think so. Hated by his brothers he was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt. He was later accused of sexual assault and imprisoned for years but God was with him and protected him. Joseph was later released and became the equivalent of prime minister, and when a major famine hit the area and Joseph’s brothers came looking for food he forgave them and used the opportunity to bring his whole family to Egypt. When their father Jacob died Joseph’s brothers were nervous and thought that Joseph would exact revenge but instead he said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (1)
God also did it for Elijah. He was a prophet who opposed King Ahab and the idol worship he imposed upon Israel. Elijah passed through a period of depression where he wanted to die. He said, “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life.” (2) God was able to give him exactly what he needed, his presence and reassurance. He spoke to Elijah who replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (3) God spoke again to Elijah, this time in a gentle whisper which to Elijah’s troubled mind was just what he needed. He was also told that he wasn’t alone, God had another 7000 who were faithful to him. It’s always good to hear that you’re not alone.
God always looks after his own. It may not seem that way at times but we can rest assured that God is looking after us while ensuring his purposes are fulfilled. That may involve taking us out of difficult circumstances, taking us to places and into situations where we would rather not go and allowing unpleasant experiences to affect us. It may also involve a loving, gentle whisper assuring us of his love.
- Genesis 50:20
- 1 Kings 19:4
- 1 Kings 19:14