I think when I was about 14 years old I first heard the phrase Gods plan. I was up on a Sunday eating cereal waiting for wrestling to come on so my dad could tell me what a bunch of fake crap it was, and this televangelist came on, talking about how "GAWD has a plannnnnnn for YOU!" He was one of those big sweaty guys whose blood pressure made the poop vein on his head swell to enormous levels, but he had that kind of thundering voice that kind of drew you in. I can fully recall going man...what plan.
My parents never discouraged me from going to church but they themselves never really went. I don't think it was ever for any lack of desire to go, they just were the kind of folks who really relished seeing god in the simple things. Tilling the earth and planting a small garden, making a flower bed or outdoor projects. My dad only had one day off a week for the entire time I was at home and that one day was pretty important to him and my mother. So they packed every day off he had with things to be done or little day trips to see something neat. So when this loud preacher man said that god had a plan, all I could really envision was one of my mother's infamous to do lists.
When I was in the military I saw all kinds of things. Things that made me doubt that any god would plan the craziness. And things that made me fairly certain that divine intervention was the only plausible explanation. I was an idiot for quite a while because I was very confused. As much as my parents tried, nothing they taught me or showed me could have prepared me for a lot of what the world showed me, and other things they taught me had i just believe a little more in their wisdom would have probably pulled me out of the fire a little faster. But like many kids at first I knew everything, and shortly after I realized I didn't know anything and all that was left was a lot of confusion and anger that I wrongly displaced at them for not making me just like all the other kids who went off to college got drunk, and graduated with degrees in some completely different field then they initially went to school for.
I ran into a man named Master Sgt Rick Robinson. Rick was a devout christian and a good family man. No matter how many turd sandwiches life dealt out Rick just sat for a moment and reflected on it gave it over to god and pressed on. He took me to church many times and I think one of the saddest moments in my life was him getting orders elsewhere. And he told me "Chris you need to talk with your parents because gods plan is not for us to walk alone. He had met my parents when they bailed my butt out of a particularly nasty situation where the military had over paid me and I being the knucklehead had not paid a lick of attention to the fact I was getting more then I should. Rick paid attention though, and he made sure to really push the envelope to get me thinking. And to remind me of God's plan for me.
So I get hit by a tornado, lose dang near everything to my name, but I kept my pride, still not wanting to crawl back to my parents and admit defeat I instead come out to Colorado. I had a friend out here but he couldn't afford for me just to move in and my pride wouldn't let me just mooch off someone, so I spent roughly 3 weeks in the red cross shelter here in Denver working for a temp agency. I got a job with Cub Foods as a Customer service manager and got a little pay as you go apartment, then my friend said why don't you move in. Sure enough I keep at it moving jobs a few times meet my wife my future son and suddenly everything I've wanted falls in to place. We have my daughter and finally my wife gives the final push and I call my parents to get in touch with them again. Just when life is going well, Ive got a good job I find out Ive got MS.
Now I'm floored again, if gods plan was to bring me all this happiness why would he do this to me. Why would he slowly take my sight, my legs, even the ability to know if I have to do something like pee. Why when everything was going right would I get hit with this stuff. Once again, I feel confused and like everything is going against me. And all of a sudden when everything feels like its crushing in it dawns on me. God really does have a plan. And just like Job I cursed the day I was born not seeing this plan. So now that I have laid out this nasty little scenario of depression lets see the silver lining of gods intricate plan thus far in my life. People will say that some of this is mere coincidence. But those same people would be wrong.
1) My entrance in the military: Unlike most kids I graduated with I didn't go off to be a frat boy, I instead joined the USAF. I spent my time in the medical field working the ICU, Internal Medicine and the ER. In each place I was like a sponge just absorbing the knowledge around me. During this time period I held the hands of many folks who passed away beside me. Many old veteran;s who bravely told their family they loved them and to go home and get rest. These veterans knew that they had one more tour of duty to perform and it was the final ship out to heaven. And when these Veteran's were alone on the edge, when they wanted another military member to be there a brother in arms that understood them, I was there for them because this was part of god's plan. At that point in my life it was my purpose to provide comfort and ease these old soldiers minds. And in turn as god takes he provides. God provided me with the knowledge I would need in the future.
2) After getting out of the military, I was burned out I sat there and wallowed in my own self pity working a cruddy job at a gas station. I was still hurting over my first fiancee dumping me and was spiraling down a bad road that probably could have gotten much worse. But instead like the great flood a tornado wiped out every reason I had to stay, and for whatever insane reason I chose to come to Denver. And here gods plan led me to my wife, and my children. I went from a guy without two cents to rub together to a guy who slowly but surely has been gaining the American dream.
3) When MS struck, many things could have happened. However after finding out what the signs and symptoms of early onset my military training in medicine allowed me to figure out this had been going on for awhile. It allowed me to go back to the VA and pretty much stride through their system because I knew what my medical records held and was able to link my issues with things I had complained of in the military. It put me on 100% disability and allowed me the peace of mind of knowing my family would still be taken care of even after I wasn't able to be the bread winner. And it continues to benefit me even now given me the ability to translate doctorese and really make informed medical decisions. Once again god's plan at work far in advance of what one would expect.
I don't hesitate to tell folks how I feel god has blessed me. That is right blessed. Because in comparison to a lot of folks I think I have witnessed quite a few miracles. And every day I have 3 of them to hold (OK maybe not hold the boy squirms quite a bit) to remind me of how lucky I am.
Keep your chin up