It was a great plan.

As you know, I was scheduled to speak this past weekend, near Yosemite, for the Family Camp of the Presbytery of Northern California.  I spoke there about 10 years ago and greatly enjoyed the people there and I was really looking forward to being with them again.   

The plan was to speak on the book of Job.  It was hard work trying to capture the essence of the book in a weekend of lectures but I was pleased with what I had come up with.

The plan was for Joanne and me to fly out to Portland, OR, a few days early, take a drive down the Oregon coast, spend the weekend speaking and preaching, and then fly home Tuesday. 

It was a very good plan.

The first sign something might go amiss was when Joanne said to me, 35,000 feet over South Dakota, “I’ve got a tickle in my throat.  I hope I’m not getting a cold.” By evening, that tickle had turned into a cough and great weariness. She spent the next day sleeping in the passenger seat while I enjoyed the scenery along the coast. The next day was better and by the third day she was almost back to normal.  We had a really nice day.  The Redwoods have to be one of the most awe-inspiring things on planet earth.  

The plan was back on track.

Until the following day. That’s when I developed a cough and a severe head cold, and a fever, accompanied by tremendous weariness. So, I took a COVID test, and on Friday, the very day we are supposed to show up at the camp, I had to call our contact and tell them I had tested positive. They were extremely gracious but decided I had better not come.

Just like that, the plan went up in smoke. I couldn’t believe it. All that work, all that travel, all that expense, all the anticipation – all for nothing. I couldn’t believe I tested positive for COVID hours before I was supposed to arrive at the camp.  I’m sure they couldn’t believe it either. They had been planning on me coming for the last three years – but had canceled the camp the past two years because of California’s COVID restrictions.  And now I had come down with COVID on the very doorstep of the camp. It seemed unbelievable. How could this be best?

We needed a new plan.

There we were, with COVID, in Ripon, California, with nothing to do, no one to see, and nowhere to go.  So my plucky wife and I decided to hit the road for home. A thirty-two-hour drive. I spent the time sleeping in the passenger seat while Joanne enjoyed the scenery through Western California, Nevada, and Utah. In my moments of awareness, I would mumble, “I still can’t believe this is happening.”  I was feeling better by the time we hit Laramie, Wyoming, and actually enjoyed the drive through the plains of Nebraska and Iowa. Something about grazing cows and newly planted corn just makes me happy.

We arrived home Monday night, thankful for a good trip and traveling mercy. And I realized that we had just experienced a small taste of one of the core truths of the book of Job.  God will do things in our life that don’t make sense – and He doesn’t explain himself.  He just asks us to trust Him.  This was an easy lesson in that truth.  We enjoyed many blessings in spite of the sickness and canceled Family Camp. But whether we experience this truth of Job in times of great pain or just times of frustration – the reality remains the same: God will do things in our life that we don’t expect, we couldn’t have imagined, and we don’t understand.  He doesn’t ask us to make sense of it.  He just asks us to trust Him. And so, this past week was a 3,200-mile lesson in trust.

Maybe that was His plan all along.


In His Service,

Pastor Dale

What Pastor Dale is reading . . .

3 Ways Men Can Love Their Wives in Real Life
by Kevin De Young
This coming Sunday I hope (Lord willing!) to preach on Ephesians 5:25-33. Here we have God’s commands to husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Kevin DeYoung has just posted an excellent article on this topic. It would be a great article to read in preparation for the message on Sunday. May the Lord help us grow in godliness in our marriages!


God bless you both!
I am so sorry you both experienced that time of frustration but recovered the lost time in a different experience. I shaed with the office.. as my plans went awry as well and back at ortho surgeon dr..bleeding internal foot and toes/black..oh no! Well, all went well but looks like at least 2 more months of healing and I have been trying to praise God in my experience with a broken foot and limitations now... I hope you are on the mend and I was praying for your safety with the trip.. thankful for your prayer as I wrote prior of my foot.. I said to office 105:1-4 as I try to be thankful as well in my trial.. and His ways are not our ways came to mind.. and His plans are not our plans I was trying to learn and still am as well.. Thank you for sharing and about Job.. Many told me they got the virus recently.. I thank you for your prayers as you shepherd the flock and grateful you have the Great Shepherd to shepherd you and your family as well..His protection in all. I like Psa 91..Blessings/confidential s
Thank you Pastor Dale for sharing that. Oh, the blessed detours of life. Each detour from God is a teaching moment, and a redirection to Him.

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