Erica and Arden after God worked a miracle in their lives.

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

But, it’s not always about us. Sometimes God uses ordinary people who love and obey Him, to accomplish His purpose in someone else’s life.

Hurricane Irma was creeping steadily closer with her devastating winds and torrential rain. My friend Erika had dutifully made her Costco run to be sure her family had the basic provisions necessary to weather the storm. Having lived in Florida all her life, she knew well how to prepare. And yet, this day she was feeling unsettled. Caught up in the expected busyness that inevitably occurs when Floridians hear the word hurricane and landfall in the same sentence, Erika was glad to be heading home. She and her family live in a voluntary evacuation zone and as she struggled with whether to stay or leave, she turned to God. As Erika prayed for clarity and guidance in the situation, she said, “Lord, put me where I need to be.” As she said that, a singular thought came into her mind, “Call Arden.” Arden and Erika have been friends, neighbors, and Bible study companions for years and Arden always provided wise advice. Surely Arden could help Erika make her decision about whether or not to leave.

Sitting at a traffic light, Erika called Arden and was shaken by what she heard when Arden answered. A weak, raspy voice uttered the words, “Please help me.” Erika reassured Arden that she was on her way. She knew that Arden with her history of heart problems was in serious trouble.

Arden had suffered the spontaneous fracture of a vertebra in her back. In excruciating pain, she sat in her recliner and was unable to get up. For twelve hours, through the night and most of the next day, Arden was imprisoned in her chair, becoming increasingly more disoriented from dehydration and low blood sugar, and was unable to use the phone to call for help. In Jeremiah 29:12 the Lord says, “…call on me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” God heard both Erika and Arden’s prayers that day, and Erika’s obedience likely saved Arden’s life. As Arden so aptly put it, “God sent Erika, and I’m living proof that He does answer prayers.”

Just as [we] cannot understand the path of the wind…so [we] cannot understand the work of God who does all things. Ecc 11:5

Sometimes God blesses us, not just to bless us, but so we can be a blessing to others. The answer to Erika’s prayer was not the answer she was expecting, but it was more than she could ever ask for or imagine. (Eph 3:20) In her own time of need, Erika witnessed a miracle that strengthened her faith and trust in the Lord. Eventually, Erika realized that she had received the answer to her prayer: Whatever her final decision was about leaving, God would be her refuge and strength, just as He had been for Arden. (Ps 46:1)

Let’s all begin to view the challenges of our daily life in light of God’s bigger plan for His people. When we do that and obey Him, God will not only bless us, but He will use us to accomplish His purpose in blessing those around us.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Sincere thanks to Erika , Arden, and her daughter, Cynthia, for allowing me to share their story in today’s blog.

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