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  • Writer's pictureThe Hamilton Post

Where God Leads, He Won’t Leave

This mantra has been an anchor for my faith over the past few years. It’s one of those sayings that sounds great in theory and is really easy to believe when you know which way you’re going. But what about those times when you don’t know where the road leads? As I write this, I hear the cynical side of myself laughing as she says, “Not so easy then, is it?” Because honestly, NO! It is not easy at all!

As a chronic control freak, overthinking, perfectionist I always want to know the details to every plan and I want everything to go as planned. Safe to say learning to “Let Go and Let God” has not come easy to me.

And while this has been my mantra for the past year and half, I still had my doubts about this whole letting God lead thing, until recently. God did something in me and through me that has forever changed the way I look at Him as the true author and finisher of my story.

An Unexpected Turn of Events

Our story begins on what appeared to be an average Friday evening, I finished work, came downstairs, fed my dog Chloe and headed out to dinner with my mom. Upon returning home, I was greeted by a dog with a semi-guilty look on her face and came upstairs to find vomit remains scattered across the floor. Not thinking anything of it, I cleaned up the mess, took the dog out and brought her upstairs to go to bed. Little did I know that the vomiting was far from over.

As the night went on, she continued to get sick almost every hour or two and by 3 am was vomiting blood. Deeply concerned and worried, I decided it was time to seek help. We rushed her to the emergency pet clinic. Being that there are still COVID restrictions in place, I was not able to go inside with her.

Confined to my car, all I could do was wait and pray that everything would be ok.

After 3 hours in the ER, still no answer. It was almost closing time for the emergency clinic, so they released Chloe back into our care and advised us to take her to her regular vet. She was heavily sedated, but the vomit had finally stopped. A few hours later and were back at the animal hospital. Running on little to no sleep, I was again confined to my car as more tests were being ran with still no answer on what the problem was.

Scared and exhausted, I still couldn’t stop praying. I knew the Lord was in this situation. I knew that even if it didn’t look it, that everything would be ok. And that’s when something even more wildly unexpected happened.

When God Intervened

As I was waiting for Chloe to be released, I noticed an elderly woman standing off in the corner near me. I saw that she was all alone, trying to hide her tears as she was visibly upset. Instantly, I felt a burden drop upon my heart for her, and I felt led to go speak to her. Once I had the chance to go over to her, I couldn’t find her, she had a walked away.

Feeling a bit discouraged, I felt reassurance from the Holy Spirit, “Just give her some space.” I nodded in agreement, and continued to intercede as I waited.

Finally, after 5 hours of testing and waiting, Chloe was back in my arms. A sigh of relief. A praise to God. I knew that she would be okay. Totally relieved and absolutely exhausted, I put Chloe in the car and got in the driver’s seat to leave.

Just as I was about to pull away, I looked over to my right and there she was, the elderly woman from earlier! I stopped dead in my tracks as I watched her put her dog in the car just a few parking spaces away, this time she was visibly weeping.

It was in this exact moment that I experienced what the scriptures mean when they say Jesus was moved with compassion. My heart broke and I was overcome.

Without even giving it a second thought, I got out of the car and walked over to her.

“Hi,” I said with a tremble in my voice, “I know you don’t know me, but are you ok?”

She looked up, with tears in her eyes, shocked and almost confused. Wiping her tears, she gave me an honest answer, “No, I’m not,” she continued, “This has been a really tough time, and my dog has been in so much pain. I just don’t know how much more of this I can take.”

I then did something that I almost never do, I boldly asked, “Can I pray for you?”

A look of hope flashed through her eyes. She started to say yes, but then suddenly paused and turned away, “No, it’s ok.”

I felt the Holy Spirit continue to press on my heart and prompted me, “Don’t give up. I need to speak to her.”

Trying to stay just a little longer I asked, “What’s your dog’s name?”

She looked lovingly at her dog sitting ever so preciously in the front seat, “Paige,” she replied.

With tears now in my eyes, I reassured her, “I know God is with you, even in this,” and then I made a vow that I know God takes seriously as I said, “I will be praying for you two.”

Little did I know, those few words were exactly the hope that this woman needed to hear that allowed the Holy Spirit to intervene. All day, she had been feeling so hopeless and so alone. She was so overcome with emotion that she walked right up to me, reached out her arms and embraced me in a much needed hug.

As soon as we embraced, I felt the Holy Spirit take over. His presence of love and peace was so incredibly strong. I began speaking words of comfort in her ear, and the Lord spoke to her so tenderly, as He released a blanket of love and peace over her as I held her in my arms.

I went to let go, but to my surprise, she held on even tighter.

Suddenly this woman who didn’t want prayer just moments ago, now needed it more than ever. It was in that moment that I saw God break through with His love, despite her initial rejection. I was on the outside witnessing His unfailing pursuit to reach her.

We went from crying to laughing as we traded stories for a moment about the plights of being a dog parent. I reassured her everything would be ok, and reminded her how much God loves and cares for her, and her dog Paige, before we parted ways. As we said our goodbyes, I knew that she wasn’t the only one walking away changed.

Everything Changed

Walking away, I couldn’t help but think, “God, did you bring me here for this very thing?”

All the worries of the morning washed away in that very moment, I felt His peace as he gently spoke these gripping words, “This is what it means to let me lead.”

Suddenly, I no longer cared about the $1,000 vet bill, the sleepless Friday night, the fact that they never truly figured out what was wrong with Chloe. None of it mattered. Because I knew God needed me at that specific Animal Hospital, on that Saturday morning so He could touch that woman’s life.

And you know what, that was totally okay with me. In that moment of assurance and surrender, I felt peace in knowing that this story has a happy ending.

Fast forward a few weeks later, and God confirmed it was all a part of His plan. I received the payout from the pet insurance company for the treatments done that day and I could not believe my eyes.

Of the $1,005 that I paid in vet bills, the insurance covered $995. My jaw hit the floor about as fast as my knees did as I cried out, “Thank you, Lord!”

He took care of everything. Oh, and by the way, Chloe was totally fine the next day, and has been totally healthy ever since. Because that’s how good our God is.

Putting Feet to Faith

The more I walk the path of faith, the more I’m constantly reminded that we serve a God who is just as close to us as we walk through the valley as He is when we conquer the mountain. The key, really, is knowing what it means to follow His lead. And maybe this very thing is something that we each have to learn individually.

When you choose to walk the road of faith, you have to be ok with taking steps in faith.

Because as 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”

Even still, God will always confirm when we are going His way.

Wherever you are on your path today, I pray that you will be remind of who’s in the driver seat of your life. Let God put feet to your faith as you allow Him to lead the way. It’s time to walk unafraid. I promise you won’t be left stranded, because the mantra is true.

Where God Leads You, He Won’t Leave You.

Audrey Buchanan

Author | Writer | Photographer

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