Many are the thoughts and plans we make about our lives, jobs and families. It’s our nature to do this so that we can predict the future and feel secure about today. We plan vacations, we plan outings, what we are going to say on special occasions, our education or a job. All of this is good. But what happens when the best laid plans don’t go well? We get upset, we worry, we feel out of control, we get angry or frustrated. We like the order of our days to go as we expect. But, in fact, most of life doesn’t go as we expect. Often, built into each day is an interruption or some serendipitous event that changes the nature of our feelings and sometimes our entire day.
Because it is autumn, the leaves are starting to drift down onto my pathway. One of the things I notice is that often they fall and don’t quite make it to the ground. They get caught in the upward bloom of the goldenrod. Or they hang mysteriously mid-air spinning with the breeze because they’ve bumped into a spider web that was previously unseen. These are my favorites as I love watching the leaf caught in the breeze. Some of the other leaves fall onto the large flat leaves of the paw paw trees and are temporarily halted in their downward journey until a rainstorm or good wind carries them to the ground.
I’ve noticed this happening for about a month as the dry weather caused some of the leaves on our trees to make an early descent. But it struck me that our lives are not unlike the leaves. We have seasons of fresh growth, seasons of bloom and then times of waning. But sometimes, amidst the season of growth or bloom, there is a time when we are forced to take another path than the one we are on. A sudden illness can make our life turn in an entirely different direction. Loss of a job or a close person leaves us wondering how to move forward. I think our tendency is to look at these events as if they are unwanted without looking for what God is doing in the midst of it.
These events are not a surprise to Him. In fact, they are planned by Him because He has something to teach us about ourselves and His love. Interruptions are ripe for discovering what God is doing in our lives. There is no point railing against them. God has put the obstacle, the illness, the job change or loss in our lives for a reason. He is never capricious. He always intends the best for us. We just don’t always want to walk the path. But if you don’t, you miss whatever there is to discover about God. And that’s what this is all about isn’t it? Finding God, growing deeper in relationship, and learning how faithful He is. All of the time.
Those of you who know me, also know that my life was derailed numerous times by illnesses that were determined to claim my life. But God was sovereign, and through the miracle of prayer, He healed me five times of deadly diseases. This is not a small thing. I didn’t enjoy taking chemo, having multiple surgeries, and I didn’t like having my career interrupted. But I would never exchange years of health for what I learned about God. I would never have known His faithfulness and miraculous touch. I wouldn’t have learned trust in so many different ways, and that He is completely trustworthy. Did it change my life? Absolutely. But for the better. If I had sailed through life without any deep troubles, I would never have found such peace in trusting God. He always comes through, just not necessarily in the way we think it’s going to happen.
Scripture is filled with God doing the impossible and God changing people’s plans. Think about what it must have been like for the Israelites to see they had to cross the Red Sea, for Mary to become pregnant, for Joseph to be sold into slavery, for Esther to be put in the king’s harem. Against all odds, God came through. Why do we think our lives will be any different?
So whatever you’re thinking about now that has somehow derailed your plans, try looking instead for the God who is behind it. Ask Him to show you the treasure He wants you to discover about His character and about yourself. Then those interruptions look more like gifts designed especially for you with love from the Father above.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 NIV