There are several verses in Proverbs – Prov 16:9 being forefront in my mind at this moment – that deal with the idea of man making plans, but God being the One who truly puts everything into motion.
I generally consider myself to be in tune with this concept. After all, God’s will is the best, whether it goes along with my plans or not! Besides, if I’m truly in tune with God, I’ll make my plans according to His will anyway, right? So, that means things will typically go according to the plans I’ve laid out because I’ve laid them out with His guidance. I can live with that!
The problem is that even when we plan in accordance with His guidance, sometimes He still has things in store for us that don’t line up with our well-laid plan. He doesn’t always let us know what is coming and let us plan accordingly. Sometimes he wants to remind us that He’s still in control, even when things don’t go as we expect them to. And, to be honest, I don’t always respond well to those situations.
Interestingly enough, it was not any circumstance of my own that got me thinking about this. It was, instead, a phone call.
The phone call came in the wee hours of the morning this morning – 12:05 to be exact. It was my mother saying she and my father were making the one hour drive from their house to the hospital where my brother and sister-in-law were also heading in preparation of welcoming their firstborn into the world.
Now, to truly understand the connection, let’s back up a few days to last Saturday. We were all sitting around my parents’ living room on Saturday afternoon just visiting. My parents had just arrived in the country the day before, taking some vacation time from the mission field to make sure to be here for the arrival of their newest grandchild. That, combined with the fact that the baby’s due date was only two and a half weeks away, insisted that the conversation delightfully revolve around the baby’s impending arrival.
As this is my brother and sister-in-law’s first child, we were giving them little tips on what to expect. And as all good expectant parents, they had a plan. A good plan.
Then came the early morning phone call with the news that the baby had decided to make her appearance two weeks early without choosing first to turn and come out head first. Preparations were consequently being made for a c-section. And with that one hitch the plan was out the window.
As I lay awake after the phone call, I wondered how I would have responded. To be honest, I didn’t have to wonder. I knew. I would have fussed, whined, cried, pouted, and generally been irritated with the whole situation. “This wasn’t the plan! This wasn’t what I wanted! I didn’t even have time to mentally prepare for this!” Never mind the healthy baby – what about my plan!!
I have no idea what went through my sister-in-law’s mind as she faced this unexpected hitch in her plan. All I know is that she and my brother welcomed a beautiful – and healthy – baby girl into the world a little over an hour after that first phone call. The path was not what they’d planned, but the results were everything they’d hoped for.
Sometimes things don’t go according to my well-laid plan. But, they never go contrary to God’s plan. He is never surprised, and nothing is ever out of His control. And the next time my plans go awry, I pray that I will remember this very truth and faithfully accept what God has in store. The results might not be a precious baby girl, but they will be just as beautiful because they are given directly from the hand of God!