This past week, my family and I witnessed the kind and meticulous providence of God at work in a terrible situation. While I typically don’t spend much time writing about personal matters on this blog, today I felt that I should tell the story of God’s providence and miracle working power and hopefully it will encourage you in the faith.
We arrived in Edinburgh Scotland early on Sunday morning to begin a Reformation church history tour that would last an entire week as we would travel with a group from Scotland to England—covering people such as Patrick Hamilton, George Wishart, John Knox, William Tyndale, John Bunyan, John Rogers, John Owen, Thomas Goodwin, Isaac Watts, and more.
Since we couldn’t checkin at the hotel until after 3pm, we decided to have breakfast in the hotel restaurant and then my family along with one of our elders and his wife from our church would go up onto the Royal Mile and take a quick walk down past some church history spots including Parking Place 23 at St. Giles’ Cathedral and then tour the Knox House. After we finished, we grabbed coffee at Starbucks and then took a quick picture of the statue of John Knox at Edinburgh Theological Seminary before heading back to the hotel.
As we started down the hill, I noticed that my daughter’s blood sugar was low. She is a Type-1 diabetic and wears a sensor on her body that sends a signal to my iPhone to inform me if it’s too low. When I told her, she replied, “I know, I’ve already eaten a little fig bar.” So, off we go back to the hotel and what happened next is still a blur to me.
I heard my wife yelling my name as we are walking down the busy sidewalk. I turned and saw my daughter sitting on the sidewalk. As I ran to her she was saying, “Help me, I can’t see, I can’t see.” I recognized that this to be the result of the low blood sugar and I knew we had to get sugar into her. Before I could do anything, she fell over into my arms, her eyes rolled back into her head, and she began having a seizure. At this point, a million things are running through my mind. One thing hit me suddenly. It was the fact that her emergency glucagon shot is in the holding room at the hotel which is .5 miles away. Time would not permit me to run to retrieve it.
At that moment, I’m screaming for people to give me some sugar and I’m calling out to see if anyone is a diabetic who might have an emergency shot. Everyone was throwing me the wrong things – hard candy and stuff that would never work. At this moment, I’m on the ground caring for my daughter and immediately took some Skittles candy and chewed it up frantically while prying open her clinched jaw in order to get the sugar juice under her tongue into the capillary bed which is a fast track into the blood stream. My wife and our son along with an elder from our church ran to get sugar from a restaurant while others are circled up on the sidewalk calling for an ambulance. It was utter chaos. My heart was beating out of my chest. Would I watch my daughter die on the sidewalk in Scotland? That was my fear. We were all calling out to God.
While I was working on my daughter, a woman tried to jump in to perform CPR and I had to push her away as she was insisting that we do CPR. I knew she was breathing and that she had a pulse. I had walked this road before almost exactly four years ago. I knew what to do, but I didn’t have her shot with me this time. I felt helpless and desperate. I have never felt so desperate in my entire life. At that very moment, a man at the red light jumped out of his car and introduced himself as an ER doctor who specializes in pediatric care. He immediately helped me.
Within a couple of minutes, my daughter was starting to come back out of her unconscious state and could follow enough directions to sip some coke mixed with loads of added sugar. Her paleness was fading away as color began to fill her face again.
We experienced the kindness of complete strangers on the sidewalk. One man provided his coat as a pillow for her head as we worked on her. Another stranger was consoling my son who was broken as he thought he was watching his sister die. Most assuredly, we experienced the kind providence of God. In a million little ways that I can’t even begin to fathom—God was there and he was at work to arrange every single detail in order to care for my daughter and to bring glory to himself.
By evening, I was able to preach in our first session of the church history tour. My daughter was released from the hospital and spent the night in our hotel room with us and never missed a beat on the tour through Scotland, Cambridge, Oxford, and London. J.C. Ryle said the following:
Nothing whatever, whether great or small, can happen to a believer, without God’s ordering and permission. There is no such thing as “chance,” “luck” or “accident” in the Christian’s journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God. And all things are “working together” for the believer’s good.
If my daughter had died that day, God would still be worthy of praise and he would still be good. However, he chose to spare her life and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. If you haven’t paused to consider how God, in his providence, controls all things so as to take care of you and bring him glory in a million little details each day—you should do so without delay. After my daughter had gained strength and was able to get up and sit in his car on the side of the street to get warm, I looked at the doctor and said, “Sir, I don’t know where you stand with the Lord Jesus Christ, but we are Christians, and I have no doubt that our God has placed you at this intersection at this very moment for a purpose.”
Let us remember these words by William Plumer from his work titled A Treatise on Providence as he writes, “Providences are long chains with many links in them. If one link were missing, the event would fail. But it is God’s chain and God’s plan. The thing is fixed. The outcome is not doubtful.”