I Didn’t Plan for That

As most of you know, teachers plan. Extensively. One type of plan is a curriculum map. We map out the entire year to make sure we cover the skills our students need to be successful. The idea didn’t start with us, nor are we the best at it. It started with Him. God plans.

…I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬ MSG)

Sometimes the way is easy. We can see pretty well. We kind of know what to expect from life. We may need to shift our backpack to the other shoulder at some point, but it’s lightweight and easy to carry, so no problem. Like hiking down a shady country road. Pure joy. Great to be alive. Suck in that fresh air!

Country Road

Yes, life is good, until…

A mountain pops up, seemingly out of nowhere.

Oh, we kind of saw it coming, but we ignored the horizon, hoping we were wrong.  We weren’t.

“You need surgery.” or

“It is cancer, I’m sorry.” or

“I don’t love you anymore.” or

“Your position has been cut.” or

“I’ll see you in court.”

Whatever the catch phrase of the mountain, now we have to face it.

Walking here is not so easy. It’s rough, and sometimes we fall down, or tumble backward. Even the most lightweight backpack gets heavy. The light is dim; the air, foggy.  It can be scary.

Kenai mt3

We want to quit, just stop and sit down. Pretend there is no mountain.

But… then we’d be stuck.

No, we have to keep going. We look around for a path.

We pray more, seeking Him, wondering where He is in all of this.

He answers, “I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬ MSG)

What a relief!

God doesn’t abandon us just because our scenery changes.

And though He didn’t put the mountain there – it is the natural result of a rumbling, ever-changing world-

He is not surprised by it. He knew it was there. And… He planned for it. Even if we didn’t.

His plan may involve mountain removal.  He could guide through the mountain pass, or maybe even reveal a path around it. Whatever the plan calls for.

He knows exactly what we need to be successful, and if we will follow where He leads,

His plan will give us the future we hope for.

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I May Be in the Back Seat, but I’m Still On the Road

Usually when I am in the car, I drive. Unless, of course, my husband is in the car. Then he drives. It’s simple really. The ranking person drives. He taught me that rule.

Recently my eyes were giving me a little trouble so I went to the eye doctor. He said I had an eye infection and for several days I would need to use antibiotic drops. He also said I couldn’t wear my contact lenses. Now that’s a real problem. I don’t have glasses that are my current prescription, so without my contact lenses, I can’t drive. My husband works out-of-state.

My youngest daughter agreed to take me anywhere I wanted to go. She is a good driver and I had no doubts about my safety. She drove me to church that next Sunday and though I was in the front passenger seat, I still felt like I was in a scene from “Driving Miss Daisy.” I didn’t complain. I was glad to be able to go to church. The novelty of it all had not yet worn off.

Fast forward… Days later. Walmart. I’m not sure if I felt like an elderly person or a small child, but certainly not a responsible adult totally in charge of the situation. Walking around holding onto the cart my daughter pushed, if I saw someone I knew, I didn’t really know them because I couldn’t really see them. (Don’t laugh…) I tried to be polite; I failed. Yes, I know it isn’t polite to stare at a person until either your eyes cross or the person gets close enough for you to recognize them.

We checked out and wouldn’t you know it, rain began to fall. It began softly, and quickly turned into a gully-washer. My car was only seven or eight parking spots out, so we took off running. With every stride the rain came down harder.  When we got to my car, I opened the door and jumped in the back seat, telling my daughter to hand me the bags. (I know, I’m awful). Everything was soaked. She emptied the cart and I placed all of the bags around me. I looked like a half-drowned rat sitting in a sea of gray plastic. She took the cart to the cart station and returned to the car. The rain had not let up. Looking like a fully-drowned rat, she began to drive home. (Funny how things get turned around.)

I told her I didn’t have a towel in the car anymore and that I had taken it out because it never rained while the towel was in there. She told me I needed to put it back in. As she turned the radio on to her station, contemporary Christian, I thanked God for her. She had been sweet through it all.

The ride was pleasant. Sitting there in the back seat, I realized that I was not in control of my situation and I was okay with that. Is this how it will feel when I am old and someone else has to take care of me? I suspect that my comfort at that moment dwelt in the fact that though I was not in control, I trusted the one who was. My daughter, yes, but more than that, the One who holds me always in the palm of His hand.

There have been times in my life, had I insisted on being in control and doing the driving, I would have run into things I didn’t know were there. He can see better than I can. Yes, sometimes the back seat is just fine.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭5-6‬ NKJV)

A Circle of Quiet

 

How blessed the man you train, GOD, the woman you instruct in your Word, Providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil, while a jail is being built for the wicked. GOD will never walk away from his people, never desert his precious people. (‭Psalm‬ ‭94‬:‭12-14 MSG)

Have you ever needed a force field around you? Ever felt like you were being bombarded on all sides? I love the way these verses from the Psalms speak to that. The meaning is universal and timeless. (Isn’t all scripture?). From Israelis in a Jerusalem bomb shelter to a stay-at-home mom in small town USA, God’s Word on the inside of them can provide that circle of peace.

I recently viewed a YouTube video of folks singing a song of peace in a Jerusalem bomb shelter. I was amazed. If I could speak the language, I would have sung along with them. I am praying for those in bomb shelters anywhere in the world, that they will have the inner peace God provides while the world around them is clamoring.

The “clamor of evil” in homes across our land may not be as loud or well-known, but can be just as intense. When my son had chicken pox at eighteen months of age and developed Reyes Syndrome, a condition that killed many infants that year, I knew I was in a battle for his life. His pediatrician sent him home to die.  He told me he could do nothing for him. His internal organs were extremely swollen and already past the point of medicinal intervention. The brain would swell next, and then it would be over. I felt like he had just dropped a bomb on me.

Everything I knew about God from the scriptures held me together as I took my son home. I prayed and remembered that His Son took our sicknesses and carried our diseases. I took my battle to Him. Isaiah 53 was my battle cry.  A peace came over me in that prayer time. A circle of quiet. My son did recover. Completely. No brain damage or lasting ill effects on his internal organs. He turns thirty-six in a few days, a picture of health.

We are blessed to know He can quiet the storm, or as this verse says, He can quiet His precious one in the storm. Sometimes He does both.