The Day my Plans got Cancelled
I relish my trips to the city to catch up with friends. One day there was to be an added bonus—20% off all stock at my favourite bookshop! I rubbed my hands in glee as I anticipated another trip. Unfortunately, my friend got sick, so we had to postpone our time together. I didn't feel justfied in spending a day out just to attend a book-sale, so I regretfully decided to stay home. Never mind. It was a rainy day so perhaps it was just as well. Besides, I now had an unexpected gift of time. How exciting was that!
“Lord, help me use my time wisely”, I prayed.
Confession time. I don’t always use my time as wisely as I could. I procrastinate. I dawdle. Sometimes a day passes with little done. Blame it on my health. When chronic fatigue and pain get the upper hand, my ability to do the simplest task is found wanting.
But that particular day was different. What a glorious day it was! I made lots of calls—I often avoid the phone, so that was an achievement. I spent hours writing my next blog, refined it, found pictures for it then posted it on my website. A deep sense of satisfaction seeped into my bones like a cup of delicious coffee that invigorated me. I wrote a number of emails which had been shelved for far too long. I spent time in prayer. I poured over my small group Bible study homework and completed it. I went for a walk. I did my laundry. I planned how I could help a friend in need. I was on a roll.
And so … the day my plans got cancelled turned out to be one of my most productive days. Isn’t that encouraging? Life often seems to be what occurs when we are planning something different. But …perhaps that’s a good thing? Of course it’s a good thing. For when God is at the helm, our cancelled plans morph from good plans into great plans and we get to do life His way. Many decades ago, when I sat for my Year 12 exams (twice over), I hoped to get into University. But my results were not good enough, and my hopes were dashed.
But … it led to a unique season in my life. The four years I thought I’d spend at Uni I spent instead in the laboratory of a Girl’s High School in the daytime as I studied to be a Laboratory Technician in the evenings. I thrived on it—both the studies and my first working environment. God brought me ministry opportunities in plenty as I made close friends among the school girls and shared the gospel with them. That chemistry lab became a hallowed place as one after another many teenagers found Jesus. My heart swells in gratitude to Him as I reflect on it now. After that four year stint, I studied Computer Programming and found employment. I loved my work and made more long lasting friendships. I even fell in love with a young man who was a computer whiz. The friendships I made during my girlhood have lasted to this day 40 plus years later and have added layer upon layer of richness to my life. How grateful I am to God for overwriting my plans with His wise ones.
Here in Australia, I sought employment but after several long years of seeming failure, God led me into the joy of becoming a Christian writer, In fact, can tell you story after story of how I sought one plan but God led me to another. Every time a dream goes pear shaped, I feel sad. At first. But you know what! It’s OK. Because God’s got this too. He does. So you and I can relax and enjoy the ride. When God closes a door it’s all it should be because we know He will soon open the right one, not the one we thought was the right one.
So if you are glancing back at a closed door wondering what that was all about, wonder no more. God’s got this. Really. Let’s look ahead with thanksgiving. He is, as I speak opening yet another door for you to walk through. It will be a grand adventure. I know it. So let’s join hands and follow His heart for us. He know what’s best. And we can trust Him.
"A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.
How then can anyone understand their own way?"
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight."