God Has a Plan & Purpose / Happy Birthday, Lady


God has a plan and a purpose for each of us.  In life, God intends for us to keep certain appointments.  Whether you keep the appointments or not will depend upon your willingness to be in the will and plan of God for your life.  In the book A Gathering of Eagles, the following men offer their advice about the plan and purpose of God.

George O’Brien, USMC, (Ret.) received the Medal of Honor in Korea .  “I would urge people to realize that God has a plan for each of our lives.”  Lt Gen Bruce Fister, USAF,  retired chief of Air Force Special Operations; “God put each of us in a particular place, in a particular circumstance, to do His bidding.  In God’s kingdom, none of those positions are more important than any other, but each of us has our particular purpose.”  MG Robert Van Antwerp, Commanding General, Ft. Leonard Wood; “God is large and in charge, and He has a plan.” Lawrence Crabb, author and founder of the Institute of Biblical Counseling; “Ask only what God has called you to do, what talents He has given to you to use, what opportunities He provides for you to serve His purpose.”  Phil Downer, founder and president of Dynamic Network America ; “All Christians can make an eternal impact in the lives of others if we allow God to use us for His purposes.”  David Jeremiah, Turning Point Ministries; “When He shows the path for you to follow, then trust Him and His plan with all your heart.  Charge down the path with all your heart.”  Bishop Eddie Long, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church ; “God has a plan for everything and everyone.  We were in eternity past with God.  We were born into time to complete a work for Him.  We the Body of Christ, tend to seek our purpose.  Purpose is what you do today but destiny is what God thought about you and called you to fulfill in eternity past.”  Paul Stanley, Executive Vice President of the Navigators; “God is a purposeful God and always acts and creates with a purpose.  Therefore, I am created for a purpose and must live life to serve Him and others with His purpose in mind.”

God is large and in charge, He has a plan and a purpose.  We are in eternity present. What we do, or do not do for God has an effect on eternity future.  Jeremiah, 1:5, (NIV) states, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”  Romans 8:29 , (NIV) states, “For those God foreknew he also predestined.”  God has a purpose for your life!  Are you willing to keep the appointments God has scheduled for your life?  The following story is about one of God’s appointments in my life.


I awoke early and made my way to the bow of the small Peruvian Naval vessel.  It was the fifth day of a three week military humanitarian medical mission.  We were seeing patients in villages along the Amazon River .  We left San Palo , Peru , very early that morning; Sunday, December 10th, 1989 , my wife’s birthday.  Another birthday away from home and family.  Birthdays are important, especially to my wife.  It seemed the Army frequently arranged for me to be away from home on her birthday.

I was “blue” as I thought about her and of my family.  To lift my spirits, I decided to have my own Sunday church service.  Opening my Bible, I turned to one of my favorite passages, the seventh chapter of Luke.  I read once again the story of the centurion who asked Christ to heal his servant.  Christ spoke of the centurion’s faith, saying,  “I have not found such great faith, no, not in Israel .”  Once again I was encouraged by the story of a soldier with great faith.  As we traveled along the Amazon River , I read the remainder of the chapter and reflected on the story of the widow of Nain and how Christ raised her son from the dead, returning him alive to his mother.  I had no idea that a similar story would evolve that same day.

The trip from San Palo was long, and we arrived at dusk at the small village of Triumfo .  A family rushed up with their young boy who was extremely sick.  He had been  vomiting and had diarrhea for many days.  As I pinched the skin on his abdomen, the skin remained raised in an elevated mound.  In the normal individual, the elasticity of the skin will allow it to rebound and quickly flatten.  My suspicion of profound dehydration was confirmed.

There were 4 military physicians in our group, myself, one other American and two Peruvian.  As we looked at the small boy, we realized he was extremely sick and that the prognosis was grave.  We discussed the problem and the possible solutions with the family.  We knew the child would not survive without intensive medical intervention but no local care was available.

The medical supplies we had on board the vessel were very limited, so we decided to take the sick child and his family to a small, but primitive, Peruvian hospital about four hours down river.  We only had a few IV solutions, some IV tubing and needles.  The youngster was so sick, and his dehydration so severe, that he was almost unresponsive.  As we started down the river, the two Peruvian physicians tried to start an IV on the child.   After many unsuccessful attempts, they asked the other American physician to try.  Despite numerous attempts, he too was unable to start an IV.

We discussed other options, but we were limited by our lack of more appropriate medical supplies.  The atmosphere was extremely tense in the crowded cabin room on the small vessel.  The room was dimly lit, hot and muggy.  The smell of diesel fuel, sweaty uniforms, and body odor was thick in the air.  The child’s family, his mother, father and two siblings watched with wide eyes as we tried to start IV fluids without success.  As each minute passed, the child seemed less responsive even to the painful needle sticks.  He was moving closer to death.

As his pulse weakened and his rapid heart rate became faint, I lifted his eyelids and saw his eyes were rolled back in his head and his pupils appeared dilated.  We were weary from the long day but there would be no rest. We knew if we did not get fluid into the child that he would die.

The two Peruvian physicians re-examined the child and agreed with us that death was imminent and proceeded to inform the family that we were unable to save the child.  The mother began to quietly sob as did the boy’s siblings  as they surrounded the dying child. The father sat quietly  watching.  Just looking at his face, you could see the pain and tell that his heart was breaking.  The other American physician headed for the door, trying to hide his tears and silence his own grief.

The youngster’s vascular system was collapsing. There seemed to be no vein that we could use. The thought came to me that if I could just get a needle into the faint and barely palpable femoral artery, near the groin, that maybe there might be a slim chance of saving him.

As I felt for the pulse of the femoral artery, I began to recite to myself Psalm 91, the soldier’s psalm: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”  As I finished the verse, I stuck the needle once again into the almost lifeless child.  Arterial flow, it worked; praise God!

We compressed the IV bag and began administering fluids.  It was a tiny victory, but the situation remained extremely grave.  As we continued down the river, we realized that without a miracle we would not arrive at the small hospital in time to save the child.  Even if we did get there in time, there was a good chance he still might  not survive.

After an hour passed, the arterial line stopped flowing; it wasn’t working.  Once again I searched for a vein to use.  I noticed a small one above the child’s ear.  Again I prayed the words in Psalm 91 and was able to start an IV.  I was relieved, but still very concerned.  By this time the family, the physicians and medics were all physically and emotionally exhausted.

After midnight we finally reached the small village and began our trip carrying the small child on winding, narrow paths through the dark jungle to the hospital.  On the way, the IV line was accidentally pulled out, and our hopes dashed once again.  When we arrived, the caretaker told us that a part-time physician and a nurse staffed the hospital, but they would not return until the morning.

We gently placed the child on one of the few beds.  With another prayer, I was able to start the final IV by the light of a flashlight one of the others held.  At that point there was nothing more that we could do for the boy. We left him in the hospital and headed back through the hot, sticky darkness of the jungle.

When I climbed into my bunk, I thought about home, my wife and her birthday, and my young son who was about the same age as the child we so desperately tried to save.   Exhausted, I finally fell asleep.

When I awoke, the other American physician came by and told me the news.  He had returned to the hospital early in the morning to check on the boy before we headed down the river again.  He told me that not only was the child alive, he was awake in his mother’s arms, talking, and drinking fluids!  HE WAS ALIVE!

God does indeed work in mysterious ways.  He brought four physicians together, two from Peru , and two from America to meet a family with a sick child on the Amazon river , where medical care was not normally available. The group traveled down the Amazon River as the physicians worked all night to save the child, finally reaching a small hospital that the family would have never been able to get to since they had no boat.  When it still seemed hopeless, God intervened to accomplish what seemed impossible.  Miracles do indeed happen today, even on the Amazon river .

When I arrived home, I greeted my wife and son. I sat down with my wife and I told her, “I’m sorry I was away on your birthday, but I need to tell you a Happy Birthday story,” I explained.  “Because I was away from home on your birthday, a little boy is alive in Peru .”  Obviously God had a plan.  He set up the time and the place for those people to all come together so the life of one child would be saved. I don’t know what plan God has for this child, but it must be special!