Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~Philippians 4:6

Someone needs to tell Paul, the author of Philippians, that this is easier said than done!  I know that I shouldn’t be anxious, yet, last night and into today, I have found that I am.  Normally, I am a very even-tempered person.  I don’t let most issues faze me.  There are only two topics I know of that will get me worked up: religion and my family.  Right now, I’m dealing with the latter.

My cousin just recently left for Basic Training in the Army National Guard.  We have received word, however, that he has failed his hearing tests and may be medically discharged.  Apparently, the Guard was leaving the option to him.  This morning they were to have a meeting where they gave him alternative options where he could work inside the Guard, just not the area he’d signed up for…if he didn’t like the options, he’d be sent home.  The meeting was at 6 AM in my time-zone at home.  Last week my alarm clock broke, and I fervently wished for it last night.  I wanted to wake up and pray for him while he was at the meeting.

God is amazing. 

I just happened to wake up in the wee hours of the morning, for no apparent reason (something I am not in the habit of doing.)  Not having a clock, I can’t prove that it was 6 AM, but I knew that, whatever time it was, it was when my cousin needed prayer the most.  You see, this isn’t just about a minor setback in life and a lesson-learned by a young boy fresh out of High School.  It’s about the only future plan my cousin has being stripped from him.  Maybe its a guy thing, but he never made a “plan B”.  Once he signed up for the guard, that was it.  He has nothing to come home to: no school options, no career options…he’ll have to start back at the beginning and plan again.  Its also more than that.  I know my cousin.  In his eyes, this is failure.  He couldn’t succeed, he didn’t make the cut…he wasn’t good enough.  And even beyond that is the scary news that he now has a hearing problem.  His hearing was just fine last I saw him, but from the reports we’ve been getting, it’s not “fine” anymore.  Somewhere between my last visit with him and arriving on Base in Georgia, the boy’s hearing finally went out the window!  However it had been abused over the years, it finally snapped at the most inopportune moment in his life.  So what does this mean for him?  Will he need surgery, a hearing aid?  This is a disability he will have for life!  And how will that affect his job options in the future?  For an 18 year old to stop hearing normal sounds is very scary.  I can’t imagine the fear and shock raging through his body right now!

I know lessons can be learned from this.  I know God always has a plan that is even better than our dreams.  What I don’t know is what decision an 18-year-old boy made at 6 AM this morning and whether he was able to show uncharacteristic wisdom in making a decision that will affect years of his future. 

Emily Grace


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