James Elmer left Notre Dame University to join the Navy before his twentieth birthday. World War I was under way and the six- foot former football player felt the call to serve his country. He soon found himself at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station near Chicago, preparing to enter the Great War.
Before his training was complete in 1918, he fell ill with Spanish Flu along with many of his fellow sailors. He spent days on an enclosed porch in freezing temperatures, covered in blankets and trying to breathe the fresh, frigid air. Hot rocks were placed at his feet to keep them warm. He could see the big truck that came and went, picking up caskets to take to the waiting trains that would carry the lost boys, victims of the flu, home to their grieving families.
Eventually, James Elmer regained strength and it was determined that he would survive the great flu pandemic. But his lungs were in a weakened state that eventually led to his contracting Tuberculosis, a disease that he would overcome but one that would affect his health for the rest of his life.
This young man, so strong and resilient, had been preparing for the path he felt he would walk, a path leading him to fight for his country. Then suddenly he found himself being thrown in another direction. Life tends to do this to all of us. We set a course and begin to prepare ourselves for what we must do, and then our circumstances change—like a rug pulled out from under our feet.
God knew that we would all experience this sudden change of course in our lifetime. But He reminds us in Proverbs 3: 5-7, that He has a plan for our life, and He asks of us only to trust Him when our footing becomes unsure:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence.
Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight.
Don’t consider yourself wise. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3: 5-7
Change of plans comes to all of us: in relationships, careers, ministry, and many other areas of life. The only constant is our Lord. What a blessing to be able to put our trust in Him!