A Change in Plans, by Paula Rose Michelson

Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build…”

Naomi believed that her time had come, and that the reason she had left home and hearth fifteen years before would be fulfilled. Yet, just as she prepares to leave she must make…

                                    A Change in Plans

                A painful wailing interrupted Naomi’s sleep. She assured herself it was only a dream, turned over, and pulled the covers close. A moment later, she heard someone calling. She was on her feet. It was not a dream but her tía sobbing. “Help, call the doctor!”
                “I am coming.” Naomi threw her bedroom door open and ran down the hall. When she reached Tía’s room, she paused for a split second to pray and collect her thoughts before she turned the knob. She opened the door and froze. Her benefactor lay crumpled at the side of her bed.
                Naomi rushed to her side. “Do not try to move me. Call the doctor!”
                Knowing there was not a second to lose, Naomi ran to Tía’s office and dialed doctor’s number. When he answered, she exclaimed, “Tía has fallen! Come at once!”
                Doctor Apayo arrived in what seemed like minutes. He examined Tía and spoke with her privately. When he came out of the room, he told Naomi, “I usually discuss my patient’s situation with a relative and no one else.” His gaze settled on her. “But you are as close to her as a daughter would be if she had one. She will not recover. She suffers from severe malnutrition, which caused her legs to bow as a child. That, coupled with the deleterious effect of her rheumatoid arthritis, makes it impossible for her bones to hold her weight anymore. At one point, an operation might have helped, but she refused to have one, saying her niñas needed her. These issues and her intermittent wheezing in the cold weather necessitate complete bed rest. Though, as I said before, she will not recover.”
                Naomi noticed his look of concern and wondered at the timing of the unfortunate fall. “What does she need?”
                “She needs someone to live with her, someone to take care of her.” The doctor’s gaze intensified, leaving Naomi no doubt as to his thoughts.
                “But, Doctor, I am to leave here shortly.”
                “I heard that. However, can you not consider staying for her sake?
                She helped you when you needed help. Can you not be generous and do the same for her?”
                Naomi wanted to yell “no.” Yet, as much as she longed to go, she knew her heart might cause her to stay. “Have you told her what you told me?” she asked in hushed tones as Tía called for her.
                “Of course,” the doctor said as they walked toward the door. “Now hurry. She calls because she needs you.”

Perhaps as Naomi rushed to Tía’s bedroom to tend her, she remembered that in Ezekiel 18:4 God said, Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die,” and had a change of heart. Or maybe she felt guilty for even thinking of leaving the old woman at such a time.

Perhaps you have been challenged as Naomi was. For giving up what you have striven for, even for a short time, when confronted with someone else’s dire need may feel like you must betray yourself. But remember in Jeremiah 29:11, God said, 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.

My prayer for Naomi and you is that you learn to wait upon the Lord and when he calls you that your highest joy will be to answer his call. Until we meet again I wish you shalom…peace. Not peace as the world sees it, but the abiding peace that refreshes

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