My Plan vs. God's Purpose
We all love sappy stories with happy endings. But then you grow up and life sort of smacks you in the face.
Don’t cry just yet, happy endings do happen sometimes, but there could be a few detours around the mountain of “despair” and “disappointment” before you arrive at 123 Happily Ever After Blvd. But the good news is you begin to see how wrong turns CAN be amazing pit stops in your story.
We all start out with a plan, or at least I do. I love a plan, a schedule and when a plan actually comes together! Those of you who remember The A-Team TV show from the 80’s, Hannibal Smith; leader of the team used the line, “I love it when a plan comes together” a lot! I totally just dated myself….
BUT what happens when our plan hits a pothole we didn’t see and it sends us off into a ditch with that cancer diagnosis, the husband who walks out, the child born with a disability or any number of unexpected curveballs? It’s not the end it’s just decision time.
We can’t predict what WILL happen anymore than we can change what HAS happened. But we can do several things that will take us through the disappointment into a different but amazing future. What to do…
1. Give your emotions time to adjust. Our emotions WILL be affected by pain and disappointment so we must give time for grieving. If we don’t process our emotions properly we end up with unhealed debris in our hearts that will pop up at some point in our future to cause us more trouble.
2. Forgive the person who just derailed your life. No one sets out to deliberately hurt us, but it still happens. Hurting people hurt other people. After step one, we must purposely forgive. Holding unforgiveness in your heart ONLY hurts you. It will infect every area of your heart until it destroys your life.
3. CHOOSE to look at what happened and let God take your lemons and make lemonade. Our God can take absolutely anything and turn it around for our good. I’ve seen Him turn situations around for me and for others I know, making them beautiful testimonies of His faithfulness.
I’ve seen God’s faithfulness to me in a difficult situation recently that He turned in a way I could not have imagined and I’m living out a word spoken to me over twelve years ago; a word I thought was all but dead. I have some personal situations occurring in my life right now that I’m desperately trusting God to make beautiful. I’m fully convinced He who is faithful will make all things new. He will take this pain, this devastation and prove His goodness to my family and me again.
How can I be so sure? I can be sure because I have history with God. I’ve seen Him come through for me over and over. Hebrews 10:23 NLT states, “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. Over and over we read of people in the Bible who had a promise from God who saw many detours and setbacks BEFORE ever seeing that promise fulfilled.
Abraham was promised a son. He waited for 20 years, his life full of detours, before ever laying eyes on Isaac. Moses was headed to the Promised Land with millions of Hebrews in what he thought was an 11 day journey. After 40 years roaming the wilderness they finally arrive. David was promised a Kingdom and was chased around by a crazy King who was trying to kill him for 20 years before ever seeing His throne. And then we have Joseph. His childhood dreams landed him in slavery for 13 years with many hardships he never planned for before their fulfillment came.
Romans 4:18 NLT says, “Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping, believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, "That's how many descendants you will have!"
God always knew there would be twists and turns in our story but the problem is we see a straight line to our promised land. We can either be flexible and go along for the ride or get disappointed and get stuck in the ditch. It’s our choice. I’ve found so many detours have contained amazing blessings and benefits that only added to my story. They added color and dimension to a flat landscape.
Sometimes our version of our story never becomes reality; but that doesn’t mean the reality they become can’t be wonderful in it’s own right. Ecclesiastics 3:11 NLT says, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Learn to embrace the setbacks, ditches and detours. You just never know how God will use them to bring clarity and added depth to your story.