This business of divorce is not all it’s cracked up to be — not that I ever wanted one in the first place.

Sometimes I love the independence and the surety that if I leave the portable phone somewhere, it will be right where I left it when I want it next, but coming home to the silence of an empty apartment can be very difficult after 38 years of noisy co-habitation with a spouse and family members who made their way into the world, one by one.

Recently, I went through three very dark days when I hardly knew how to hang on. Life really didn’t seem worth living without anyone to intimately care. My little Lola (dog) is a priceless companion, but sometimes a person needs more than wet kisses and a wagging tail.

On the third evening, I arrived home late. Emptiness filled my world. I was very sad. Taking an envelope out of my purse that I had picked up from the mail at noon, I saw that it was from Alice, the little Ugandan girl who I have been supporting for the last four years through Compassion Canada. It has been gratifying to see her progress from primitive drawings to increasingly tidy handwriting.

Alice’s letter read, “Thank God that we are still alive here in Mbale. We are hoeing and preparing and planting crops of maize and brans. I have a memory verse I got from the Book of Proverbs 3:5,6. It says trust in the Lord with all your strength and never rely on what you think or you know.”

Tears began to run down my face. There is no way that little girl could have known that Proverbs 3:5,6 has been my signature verse ever since I returned to the Lord in 1978. Over and over again, He has brought it to me in difficult times in remarkable ways.

What blew me away was God’s timing. That letter was probably written about a month before I got it. It had to cross the ocean, go through Canada Post and be delivered to my mailbox. It had been in my purse since noon, waiting for the exact moment God knew I would need to see that He really cares.

The other thing that blew me away was the gift of caring that Alice gave. There she was, a little 12-year-old girl, living in a mud hut, sending me the very best thing she had to give – the love of God.

And so I wrote back, thanking Alice for her wonderful letter, telling her how beautifully God had used her to cheer me.

Yesterday, another letter arrived from Mbale. Alice wrote, “God will send victory to you from the sky like rain. I love you and God bless you.”

I am blessed — very, very blessed — by design.