The Lord gave me a hill.
A little more than a year-and-a-half ago, we moved back to Tennessee from Michigan. We were selected to work with a small, country church and live in a house in what is known locally as a sink between a state highway and the church building.
This sink is a low place between the highway and the church, both of which are several feet higher in elevation than the house.
When we moved here, we had no idea at all of the purpose behind our move outside of our own desire to be closer to our grandchildren. We were young and foolish. It turned out there was a purpose we did not reckon or even think about.
Just after dark on New Year’s Eve 2015, we were returning from a fellowship dinner at the church when I had a heart attack. Much of the next 40 days were wiped from my memory. My heart stopped while I was having a coronary arteriogram and as a result, I lost short-term memory. I finally regained consciousness around February 10, 2016. I’m blessed to have a photo of the moment made by my daughter.
My subsequent recovery went well, but slowly. At first, I could only walk with a “walker,” a cage of aluminum that had two wheels. I fell twice and found that, like the woman in the commercials, I couldn’t get up. Home rehabilitation helped me improve, but it took a four-month-long course of cardiac rehab to get me back on my feet.
Outside, there was a hill that was going to play a significant role for me. The first time I tried walking the hill, it was close to agony. As I continued, it became easier. It turned out I enjoyed walking uphill and in the church’s parking lot. Then, one day while I was walking up the hill and in the parking lot I had a sort of epiphany.
God knew I would get sick and that I would need a place to walk and regain my strength. So, through his providence he gave me the hill and a parking lot in which to walk. So, when I’m not walking at the wellness center at the hospital, I’m walking up the hill and in the parking lot four days per week.
People all too often criticize God for not acting in their lives when the reverse is true. He’s doing all kinds of things for all kinds of people. Like me, they sometimes don’t see God’s providence until after they realize it.
But, I know the truth about the active, living providence of God. I know because God gave me a hill. When Jesus said, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20 ESV), he meant it.