The right place, the right time

In June, we started a sermon series on Daniel, and there is a fascinating verse in Daniel 1:9 that captured my attention. You may remember that the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem in 605BC and King Nebuchadnezzar took a number of Jews into captivity and they remained in exile there for 70 years. Daniel was among that group. Scholars believe that Daniel was in his early teens when he was taken into captivity. As soon as Daniel arrived at his new home his name was changed, he was forced to learn the language of the Babylonians, read their literature and eat their food. Daniel drew the line at eating their food for two reasons. First, the food was likely offered to idols and second, the food was
likely pork. Both of these things were prohibited in the Torah, or the Old Testament Law. Daniel asked the guard who was guarding him if he could change his diet and only eat vegetables so he wouldn’t defile himself before the Lord. Daniel 1:9 says, “Now Godhad caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel.” Little did Daniel know that God was working through this pagan official who served a pagan King. You can read Daniel 1 for the rest of the details, but ultimately Daniel’s request was granted and he did not defile himself by eating food offered to idols.

This story caused me to think about how we really never know who God might work through to help us or guide us. I experienced God working through some unexpected people recently. My wife, Karen, and I planned a trip to Nova Scotia in May. We love to hike and had planned to do a number of hikes on this trip. I was especially excited to get back into hiking because I’ve been suffering with Insertional Achilles Tendonitis since December. This injury hasn’t allowed me to wear regular shoes. I’ve been wearing Crocs for the better part of five months. I’d finally gotten to
the point where I could wear normal shoes and maybe even do some hiking, so we were really looking forward to this trip. Once we arrived in Canada my foot started swelling. We’d done a lot of walking through airports and we’d done a lot of walking on the second day after we arrived. On the third day I could barely walk and I started getting concerned because the last time I flew in 2019 I ended up with blood clots in my lungs and I was concerned that I had more blood clots. I decided it is better to be safe than sorry so I went to a hospital in Nova Scotia and they did an ultrasound. They did not find any blood clots, but my foot was inflamed from the Achilles Tendonitis so the doctor gave me some Prednisone. Since we couldn’t do any hiking we rode around looking at the scenery and some shops. In one small town I managed to hobble my way into a hiking store to browse around. The owner of the store asked me why I was limping. I told him the story and he said, “I think I can help. I’ve got a hiking pole for you.” I thought, “Great idea! I’ll buy some hiking poles. They’ll be like crutches and I can use them later.” I went to the aisle where the hiking poles were located and he said, “No, you don’t have to buy them. I want to give you a hiking pole. We had one returned the other day and it’s yours if you want it.” He went downstairs and came back with the hiking pole and presented it to
me. I thought, “Wow, how cool!”

About three days later the Prednisone kicked in and I told Karen that I’d like to try hiking this one particular trail called the Skyline Trail. The trail is on top of a mountain and it overlooks the ocean; it’s supposed to be a gorgeous view, plus moose are often spotted on the trail. It’s a “bucket list” trail. We drove to the trail head and I noticed a couple returning from their hike. I stopped them to ask how far you have to hike in order to see a nice view. The gentleman told me about a mile. I told him I injured my foot and that I think that might be too far for me. He said to me, “What’s wrong with your foot?” I said, “Insertional Achilles Tendonitis.” He said, “Huh, believe it or not I’ve got Insertional Achilles Tendonitis,” and then he said, “Don’t do it. My foot is screaming at me right now! I can’t wait to ice it.” We turned
around and walked back to our car and we talked with this couple as we walked. They were from Florida and, as it turns out, he is a doctor. I started thinking, “What are the odds that I’d run into a doctor on this remote trail who has the exact same injury as me that could tell me not to push myself into something that would only cause more injury?”

While our Canadian trip didn’t turn out like we planned, I can look back and conclude the Lord really did look out for Karen and me. He put the right people, in the right place, at the right time to help me and guide me. I am, once again, amazed and in awe of how God works. So, I’d just like to give you a word of encouragement: perhaps you, like Daniel, are going through a situation not of your choosing, with circumstances that are beyond your control. If that’s the case,
pause, pray and pay attention. Then, trust and believe that God is working in unexpected ways through unlikely people for your good and His glory (see Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11 below). May God bless you and may God bless Bethel Church.


“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, and who are the called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11