Because my Pop sold motorcycles, he knew many of the young guys who Joy and I went to school with.  He took up time with each one when they came in the store to look and wish.  Many of the guys still tell me in  how much he had meant to them.  A lot of them still look him up when they come back in town.  A few days before Christmas 1998, Brian stopped in and was talking with Pop.  He was still in high school, and was friends with Tara, my niece.  He had 4 wheelers and  dirt bikes and rode in the woods a lot.  As they talked, they came to realize that where Pop walked was where Brian rode for fun.

Mom and Pop had gotten started on their home  (#7), and Pop went over every day to check on things.  Even on new Year’s day.  We had all decided that we were not going to gather…too much going on.  In the late afternoon, Mom and Pop decided to go over and check on the house.  All was well, and they picked up something to eat and headed back to the apt.  Pop decided he would go on his walk…even though it was getting late.  Mom said, “Why don’t you just skip tonight.”  But,  a walk was part of his daily routine.   He did turn around and go back for his cell phone, though.  Now, this day 1-1-98…was freezing.  It was so cold that no one was out and about.  Except Pop.  Into the woods he went.  He walked on the familiar trail, staying away from that big mud hole that had gotten larger from all the dirt bikes and 4 wheelers playing there.  On he walked, but turned around before  he got too far, because it was so cold…and almost dark.  Heading out of the woods, he had to go past the big mud hole.  He skirted it again.  He thought. But, all of a sudden, his feet were slipping on  ice that had formed around the hole.  He was falling…and he was falling toward the mud hole.  As his feet went into the water…his left leg and hip hit the cold, icy ground.  Things went fuzzy for a little…he doesn’t know how long.  But, when he came to himself, his legs were in the water…up to his knees!  “I’ve got to get out of this water,” he thought.  And, he started to push himself backwards, he nearly passed out again.  THE PAIN WAS UNREAL!  He immediately knew he was not going to be getting out of there by himself.  It was freezing, literally.  He was hurt and in icy water up to his knees.  He knew no one knew where he was, but Mom and she only knew the vicinity of the woods he was in.  He called 911 on his phone and tried to tell them where he was.   He then called Joy, before he called Mom, because he knew Mom was going to be upset.  Then he called Mom…and as he was talking to her…his phone went dead.  The battery was dead.  In and out of consciousness, he waited and prayed.  The paramedics came to the area, but did not know where to go into the woods to look for him, and their vehicle wouldn’t make it very far without getting stuck.   They went in on foot as far as they could see, but had to come back.   They yelled to him, but he didn’t answer.   Tara and her boyfriend at the time went to get Mom, and Joy headed to the woods.  All anyone knew was that the trails he walked on were across from a funeral home. Sort of.   Panic was close by as everyone realized that Pop was down in the woods,  in the water, in severe pain, and no one knew where he was or how to get to him.  The parking lot of the funeral home is where they all met, but then they decided to walk a little way down to the spot where he entered the trails.  No one knew what to do next.  And so they waited.  And felt helpless.  And prayed.

But, you know, all those times you think you’re alone…you’re not.  And, when you think that no one knows where you are… someone does.  And, when you think the situation is hopeless….it’s not.  When you belong to Jesus, you are  like His child.   And, He watches all you do and all you say, and everywhere you go.  Just as an earthly  father watches over his children, and protects them…so much more does our Heavenly Father.  “God is with you in everything you do.”   Genesis 21:22.     Do you notice there are no restrictions on that.   It doesn’t say when you are in church, or when you are at the grocery store.   He just is with you…always…wherever you are.  Even if you are in the woods, and hurt and wet and freezing and scared.   Or standing by a busy highway knowing your loved one is lost and hurt. “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified.  Do not be discouraged.  For the Lord your God goes with you.”  Joshua 1:9 

But, how could God help now?  He may know where Pop was…but no one else did.  As Tara and Joy and Mom and the paramedics  stood by the road, prayers were in their minds.  Prayers for help.  Prayers for someone to do something!  And, as they stood there with the traffic whizzing by, God answered them.  The driver of a truck that had just passed by recognized Tara. He knew her well enough to know that if she was standing by the road in that area,  something must be wrong.  So, he turned around and went back.  It was Brian.  He had just returned from deer hunting.  Tara told him what was going on and that no one knew where Pop was.  But, Brian said, “I know exactly where he is.”  And, his truck , with those big ole tires and loud motor, could easily go there.  So the Paramedics got their things and hopped into Brian’s truck and he took them straight to Pop.  Any doubts that God was ordering the steps of His children that day?   They checked him as best they could by the headlights of Brian’s truck, and they saw that he was hurt extremely bad, and the situation was quickly becoming critical.  By the way…he was only 72 years old!    They pulled him out of the water, and put him on a board and  strapped him tightly.   Pop was going in and out of consciousness from the pain.  The area was so much muddy slush with areas of ice everywhere, they knew there was no way to carry him out.  So into the back of the truck he went.  Brian turned the truck around and headed out.  The paramedics were not able to give him anything for pain, since they could not even assess the injury. They tried to hold him still as the truck bounce d along the trails and through the holes. He was near incoherent from it all.  “I must be hallucinating,” he thought.  “I’m seeing deer all around me.”  No. He was not hallucinating.  He was in the back of the truck all right…but he was next to a massive deer that Brian had shot that day!  Can you even imagine?   If he was getting out…it was gonna be on top of a dead deer!!!    You know, God doesn’t say we’ll always be comfortable with the way He decides to answer our prayers.  But, bear in mind,  if Tara and the rest had decided to wait at the funeral home…they couldn’t have been seen by passing traffic.  The way the area is where they were, they would only have been seen if they were standing where they were.

The rest of the story is anticlimactic.  He got to the hospital, and soon was in surgery.  His leg and hip were torn to pieces. It was so bad they could not even fix it properly.   They had to put a big plate in it, and a rod down the length of his leg.     It partially healed but after a few months, he realized something was not right, and the doctors agreed with his assessment.  So that called for more surgery.  However, this time enough of the leg had healed that they were  able to fix it the way it needed to be.  It was over 6 months before he was over it.  Sorta.  Kinda. 

And, the building of their house continued through all of this drama.   Mom had to take over the job of overseeing the builders.   And, the house got built.  The were able to move in and get back to some semblance of normal.  Whatever that is.  They loved ABODE #7 and lived happily ever after there for several years, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and many other special occasions.

Mom moved one more time, ABODE #8 , for her.   And, now she  lives in a mansion and is walking on streets of gold.  The walls around her are made with precious stones.  And, she is waiting for us to join her.

Friends,when we belong to the Lord, He will always do what is best for us.  We may get our selves into some big messes…but He is always ready to help us.   Our family and friends see clearly how He chose to help Pop on that New Year’s Day.   “The Lord has done this; it is marvelous in our eyes.”  Psalm 118:23    And, so I am happy to share this story of what God can do.  And what a marvelous story to tell our grandchildren.  “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done…so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and in turn would tell their children.”   Psalm 78:4-6

 Oh, FYI…..Pop says he is not moving again until he moves back in with Mom!