Friday, September 21, 2012

DEVOTION: God's Plan B ~ by Shirley Corder

One night, I jerked awake and glanced at the clock. It was 3:10 AM. In my half-asleep state, I knew I had to phone Louis, a doctor friend. How can I phone him at this time of night? What if his wife answers? What will I say?

I lay for a while, debating what to do. Then I prayed, “Lord, if it’s you that woke me, please keep me awake. Don’t let me go back to sleep.” My mind started to clear, and I grew more and more concerned for Louis. I eyed the phone across the moonlit room. Seeking confirmation for my actions, I woke my husband.

He struggled to understand me in his groggy state, then muttered, “You can’t phone Louis at this time of night. Don’t be ridiculous. Go back to sleep” He rolled over on his side. Within seconds his deep breathing showed me he was again fast asleep. I sat propped on my pillows. 

Again I prayed. “Lord, is it you that’s keeping me awake? I want to be obedient to you no matter what. Please let his wife understand. In fact, if I’m wrong, let Louis understand too!” I clambered from my bed and headed for the phone. 

Suddenly, I experienced a strange sensation, as if the Lord was saying, “What are you doing? Go back to sleep.” 

Puzzled, but relieved, I responded, “Okay Lord, I’m going back to sleep, but if you need me to phone Louis later, wake me again!” I snuggled down in my bed and within minutes, I was sound asleep and didn’t wake until morning.

Throughout the day, I puzzled over the events of the night before. Should I have phoned Louis? Had I been disobedient?

Late in the afternoon, we received an unexpected visitor—Louis. As he sat sipping his coffee, I told him about the strong feeling I had that I had to phone him in the early hours of the morning. Chuckling, I said, “I wondered how you and Pat would have reacted when one of you answered the phone in the dead of night, and all I could say was, “The Lord wanted me to phone you, I don’t know why.”

Louis studied his coffee for a moment then looked up at me. “Who said you had to phone me? The Lord?”

“Well, no,” I admitted. “But what else could I have done at that time of night? He woke me—I’m certain of that. And He kept me awake.”

“You could have prayed for me,” he said. “I was called to the hospital last night to do an emergency appendectomy. When I opened the abdomen, I discovered it had already burst. I’m not qualified to do an operation of the magnitude that this woman required—but there was no one else. So I shot up an arrow prayer, asking the Lord to wake some of His children urgently and get them praying for me.” He looked at me, his eyes narrowed to increase the impact of his words. “I glanced at the wall clock before I continued. The time was 3:10 AM.”

After he left, I ran the scenario back through my mind. I imagined the Lord sending angels to earth to wake His children, with the message, “Get them to pray for Louis. Now.” The one that woke me felt good as I jerked awake.

“Louis!” he whispered. “Pray. Now.”

“Phone Louis?” I muttered as I tried to clear my sleep-fogged brain. “Why would I phone Louise? Do you know what time it is?”

“PRAY for him. Now.”

“What will his wife say if I phone him at this time of night?”

“I said PRAY.”

“I’ll wake Rob.” That’s good, the angel may have thought. Now there will be two praying.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” muttered my sleepy husband. “Go back to sleep.”

I imagine the angel looking on in disgust as I clambered from the bed and headed for the phone.

“Oh forget it! Go back to sleep. I’ll go wake someone else . . .”

Instead of asking the Lord what He wanted me to do, I had grasped the beginning of the idea—Louis! Then I had gone my own way, coming to my own conclusions. Fortunately, the operation was a success and the patient lived . . . but it was no thanks to me.

The Children of Israel clearly heard God’s instructions. “Go and check out this land.” They followed God’s instructions and sent in spies. But then they stopped listening. 

When the spies returned, ten of them said, “No way. We can’t do this.” Instead of speaking further with God, the people made their own “logical” decision. The result? Forty years in the wilderness. 

Many writers have experienced a time when they’ve wanted their characters to do something, but the fictitious rebels seemed to take over the story and went in another direction. 

“Hey!” the author wanted to shout. “I’m the author! You can’t just go your own way. I want you here, not there. You’re not listening.” But the characters did their own thing and often changed the plot of the story.

It’s time we learned to listen. Really listen. When God gets our attention and perhaps lays a person or situation on our hearts, it’s time to say, “I get it Lord. You want me to do something about Louis. What is it you would have me do?” And then listen!

Fortunately, the author can adapt the story to fit the new subplot that’s developing around his disobedient characters. In the same way, when we don’t understand, the Lord has back-up Christians who are more awake or more attune, and He can resort to Plan B. But what if He didn’t? What if that person had died all because I shot off to obey without being clear of God’s request?

A QUESTION FOR YOU. Have you ever had to deal with disobedient characters? What happened? Or have you ever unwittingly made a wrong interpretation of an instruction from the Lord?

SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer contains 90 meditations based on times when God spoke to her during the rough times spent in the cancer valley. Sometimes she listened, and other times He resorted to Plan B. But He never gave up. Strength Renewed (Baker Publishing House) launches on October 1 and is currently available for pre-order. Please visit Shirley at, where she encourages writers, and at, where she encourages those in the cancer valley. Follow her on Twitter or on FaceBook, or sign up for her newsletter.


  1. I don't know what happened to my last comment to you, Shirley. Perhaps it'll still come through! Anyway, if not, I really appreciated your post. Especially as I have a friend with cancer. I'd love to send her your book once it's released. God bless you.

  2. Rita, thank you for your comment. Strength Renewed is now available at It released a couple of weeks before its official launch date. I pray the book will be an encouragement to her. Blessings to you and to her!

  3. God always has a plan. He planned for you to learn the listening lesson. He knows exactly how the pieces are going to fit together.

    Birthday blessings! Today we celebrate you. I am so very glad you were born.

  4. I'm so inspired with your story and what GOD has given you loads of life. You're filled with GOD spirit and that's an awesome thing to have the LORD within your heart, mind and soul, your beautiful Shirley, Continue to be Blessed always.

  5. Great post. Makes you wonder how often we neglect to obey those promptings. I often use awake time in evenings to pray.