How has your life changed lately? I can confidently ask that question because nothing in life seems to stay status quo. Your day may change due to a sick child, an unanticipated phone call or even a shift in the weather or traffic. But changes aren’t reserved for just little daily issues; they can also come in large life-altering packages as well. A job loss, a divorce, an injury or illness, may take your life plans a whole new direction. The more important question is how are you handling the changes?
My friend Dr. Paul Lanier was a successful doctor, hunter and pilot. He was a healthy and vibrant man, until he began to experience some curious physical symptoms. As a doctor he was well aware of the terrible suffering those with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) experienced, so you can imagine his devastation when he received the diagnosis that he himself had the disease. Instead of living in anger toward God, Paul began to explore what God wanted to teach him through his suffering. Paul began to write out his thoughts as he wrestled with suffering and loss.
As the disease progressed he eventually lost the use of his arms. Although bound to a wheel chair, his neck and legs had slight movement. Paul was able to continue typing with the use of a laser beam strapped to his head. Painstakingly he pointed to a letter on his computer screen and clicked the mouse which was strapped to his knees (thank goodness for technology!). Pointing and clicking he lovingly poured out the lessons God taught him through the seat of suffering.
As a former pilot, Paul had learned all about registering his flight plan with the aviation towers, yet Paul’s life message became a change in flight plan. With the help of his friend Dave Turtletaub, he wrote a book by that title. A Change in the Flight Plan is a compilation of his thoughts and meditations of God’s truth and lessons he has learned about suffering. Concerning the grace of suffering he wrote, “Anything that God permits to happen to us in this life, whether good or bad, that better prepares us to meet Him as we approach the threshold of eternity, can only be interpreted as grace on His part.”
Take time to ponder Paul’s thought about the grace of suffering today. As you face changes in your life, recognize that God is with you and has a plan for your life. He will see you through. Paul went on to glory this past Friday, after suffering eight years with ALS. We rejoice in the life he had here on earth and the healing he is experiencing now in Heaven. You can read more about Paul on his website www.ChangeFlightPlan.com
In honor of Paul’s life, I’m giving away 10 free copies of his book to the first 10 people who email me asking for a copy: email@example.com