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Plans and surprises…

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Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand Proverbs 19:21

If you are like me, there have been times in your life when you thought everything was set. You made your plans in good faith. And, many times, those plans are brought to fruition without any difficulties. On those days, we might feel that we accomplished what we set out to do. We might feel that the event we attended was everything we hoped it would be. Perhaps the family gathering produced nothing but wonderful memories.

And, like me, you likely had days when, despite your very best planning efforts, nothing seemed to go as you imagined it would. You were late, had car trouble, or, heaven forbid, had the experience of being pulled over by a police officer. So much for your planning.

Then, there are those days when, out of the blue, an unexpected event occurs that blows your world completely off track. You were walking along the path that you thought would go directly to your planned destination; and then it happened. These events may be quite tragic and result in your life being redirected, altered, torn apart (See Devotional for Those Coping with Tragedy). Whether the event is traumatic, tragic, or simply a major inconvenience, it caused you minutes, hours, months, or years of distress. These types of events come in all sizes and happen to everyone at some point in their lives.

Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off Proverbs 23:18

These tragic events seem to happen to me when I have taken it too easy with my faith. When our lives are in order, we lean toward thinking we can make it on our own. Perhaps, like me, you developed a bad habit of calling on God only in times of need rather than keeping Him nearby every day. It seems that the tragic events serve to call my attention back to the right direction. Does this sound all too familiar?

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Recently, there were several surprises in store for me. First, although I suspected that my grandson would be going into the Army at some point in his life, I was surprised that he did this at such a young age and that the time arrived so rapidly. Although it was an excellent choice for him, I found myself saying, “Wait! I’m not ready for you to go!” And another surprise happened when his best friend, whom I had only come to know and soon “adopt”, decided to sign up as well. And sure enough, these events found me going nearer to God again for prayer. Prayer for their safety. Prayer for their success. Prayer for peace throughout the world.

Not long after these occurrences, there were more surprises in store. A father sadly progressing rapidly down the path of Alzheimer’s, and more recently, my husband’s major back injury, resulting in many days of pain and lack of mobility and, as of yet, undetermined treatment and resolution. So, again I grow nearer to God.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

As I read the verse above, I decided to find the reasons to give thanks for all of these events. It is true that having a grandson old enough to be in the military makes one thankful for living long enough to experience this time of his life. Many people are not so fortunate, as I am, to know their grown grandchildren. I am also thankful for his bravery and determination because I know that his efforts will someday help to defend our country.

I am not quite sure yet about being thankful for anything about the disease of Alzheimer’s. This diagnosis has caused me to further research the disorder and to learn about healthier lifestyles for all seniors. By adopting these dietary and lifestyle changes in our family, we are already seeing positive healthier outcomes. I am thankful for improved health.

With a back injury, my husband has been housebound. We have shared many days of togetherness and had more conversations, read devotionals, and had more quality time with each other. I am thankful for this time together.

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Photo by Artem Bali on

And finally, having plans disrupted can call our attention back to doing what God would have us do: work for Him. When our plans are disrupted, maybe it is because we have the wrong plans. For direction, and guidance, there can be only one source, and He is always available to us. We just need to commit and remain committed to Him, in good times and bad. He knows our final plan.

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established Proverbs 16:3

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