I say this because I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future. Jeremiah 29:11
A person may think up plans. But the Lord decides what he will do. Proverbs 16:9
- Wake Up
- Drink Coffee
- Be Awesome
Personally, I am a big fan of to do lists. There is something immensely gratifying about being able to check off one more task on that list. And when that particular to do list has been completed, there are about 17 more to do lists waiting to be completed. It takes some planning, and preparation, but in one way, shape or form, most of us have our own personal to do lists.
Sometimes, those to do lists are just for what we need to accomplish in the next hour, the next day, or the next week. Sometimes, there are long term to do lists. And I am certain, that we all plan for how we think our life is going to go. I know my to do list for my life has been extensive, well thought out, and with the best of intentions.
And you know what? On my own personal life to do list, not one bad thing was on that list. Not one negative thing was planned for, or hoped for. It just isn’t in our nature to actually plan for bad things to happen. No one wakes up one day and says “you know, it would be really awesome if my basement flooded today.” Or…”I really hope I get fired.” “It would be really awesome if I went out and broke my ankle.”
No one actually says those things!
But guess what? Those. Things. Happen.
In some way, shape, or form, we may make preparations for the bad things in life. We have homeowner’s insurance, and health insurance, so financially, we’re going to be ok-ish if something bad happens. But do we do the same mentally?
Not a chance.
So when, and I do mean WHEN, bad things happen, we have two options.
- We can have a good attitude, and deal with it, and move on. OR
- We can have a negative attitude, get angry, kind of deal with it, and dwell on it for an unreasonable amount of time.
In my own life, the roadside is littered with a lot of unpleasant experiences. Good ones too, but the bad ones tend to stand out. I finally, through a great amount of self-realization, came to understand that those things that I would rather have not dealt with, those things helped shape the pretty amazing person I am today.
But let me fill you in on a little secret: that self-realization took a long time. A very long and angry time in my life. I had grown up a Christian, went to church, participated in youth group, spent every summer at church camp. But when I realized that life wasn’t turning out how I had planned, I got angry at God, and I got angry at myself. I blamed God for not following the plan I had written.
Sound familiar to anyone?
For far too many years, I let that blame and anger boil inside of me. I turned against God, church, anything associated with either one.
And bad things just kept happening. And happening. And happening.
Finally, through a long, drawn out process that involves running marathons and moving back to my hometown, I found my way back to God.
And bad things are still happening. But there is one very, incredibly, epically huge thing different.
I changed. My perspective on life changed.
I realized that all of those bumps and bruises and broken ankles along the way weren’t part of my plan. But they were part of God’s plan.
It’s time for a little challenge. And if you can prove me wrong, I applaud you, and I welcome you to try. Where in the Bible does God promise us that our lives are going to be nothing but sunshine and puppy dogs and bliss?
Where is it??? Because I honestly do not know where I got the misguided sense that my life as a Christian was going to be easy.
In fact, the Scripture paints a much different, much darker point.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:9
We. Will. Have. Trouble.
And sometimes it may feel like a death sentence, this life that we trudge through. That this current pain or hardship will never end. But if we rely on God, He will get us through.
Six months ago, I got fired in an epic and glorious and messy fashion. I’ll keep the details to myself, as to not air any dirty laundry. But I got fired. And once the initial shock wore off, it came to be. God has a plan for my life. I have absolutely no idea what that plan is, or what that next step is going to be. But God has a plan.
And then when my basement flooded, I cleaned it up, knowing that I am a faithful follower of Jesus, and that I would get through it, because I probably upset Satan just a little bit, and he was lashing out. So bring it on! Is that all you got? Because guess what Satan? I’m not backing down.
You wanna know the response I got to that? The water pump for my house didn’t work all of a sudden.
Note to self: Never ask “is that all you got???”
Lesson learned. Moving on.
I could go on and on and on…and on…detailing the negatives. The disasters of life. But I think at this point, you get the picture.
Bad stuff happens.
The really important thing here is what our response to that bad stuff is. Anger is one of the stages of grief and loss. So I get it. And we’re human, so we’re going to have human reactions to things. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever get angry or frustrated.
What I’m saying is keep it in check. Don’t let the anger or resentment consume your life. I’m also saying, don’t be mad at God for not strictly adhering to YOUR plan. God has a plan for your life, and it’s not going to be a smooth and easy road. But God has a plan for your life.
And instead of fear and trepidation, look at the future, the unknown on the road ahead with hope and excitement! I know I do.
So yeah, I still worry about paying bills, and what the future holds. But at the same time, I remind myself that I’m not in charge. I never have been. God is in control. So I’m over here kicked back in the passenger seat with my feet up on the dashboard, just along for the ride.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.