originally written on September 11, 2013
We’ve All Been There
The scenario is familiar. We’ve got an incredibly busy day planned. It’s a brutal schedule but if everything goes just right, it will be a real day of accomplishment. You’re looking forward to that great feeling of satisfaction at getting so much done – and then – a flat tire! Oh man! You look at that thing and feel like it looks… deflated.
You pray, perhaps with a little exasperation, God! Didn’t you know that this was going to be a really productive day? Didn’t you want me to be successful? Are you really going to be that mean – to let this stupid flat interrupt my entire plan?
In reality the disruption may not be a flat. It could be bad weather, traffic jams, illness, mechanical failures, family emergencies, or a thousand other things that keep us from functioning through the appointments and chores of the day. Also in reality, we too often get very angry at the Lord for these kinds of interruptions. Many of us can “lose our religion” in the middle of traffic, or having a long wait in a doctor’s office.
But the next time something like this happens to you – AND IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN – stop and think about God’s love and His plan for your life. It might even be a good time to pray and thank the Lord for being in control of the circumstances that seem to move our lives in unseen ways along unseen paths.
We Shouldn’t Allow Our Plans To Interfere With God’s Direction For Our Lives.
He knows what He’s doing. Proverbs 16:9 says,
“The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”
So, when our precious plans are interrupted, we can stop and thank God for the three gracious words in the middle of this verse, “But the Lord.” At that moment in time, God has a better idea of what you should be doing. And, after all, He is God.
On 9/11 you may have read of the scores of examples where God interfered with people’s plans and ultimately saved their lives. The woman who forgot her lunch and went back for it, the man who stopped at a drug store because his new shoes gave him a blister, the flat tire, the broken down car – all were late to work and missed the tragedy. There’s a great chance that many of these folks were upset that their plans were messed up by seemingly trivial events. “But the Lord” had other plans for them.
These miracles of interruption in no way diminish the pain of the families and friends of those who did not survive the terror of that day. If anything they drive home the need for each of us to be ready to submit to God’s direction – no matter where it takes us. We know of some believers in Christ who had divine appointments in the stairwells and offices… appointments which God had scheduled to over-ride whatever plans they might have made for that day.
When I was new in my faith in Jesus, I was riding to a ministry appointment with a pastor friend and we had to pull off the road because of a flat tire. I clearly remember starting to get upset that we were going to be late. But, I observed that my friend was calm, cool, and relaxed as he started to cheerfully change that tire. I asked him why he wasn’t mad about the delay. His answer set my mind on a completely new train of thought. He said,
“God is in control of my life and, as far as I know, by delaying us here with this tire He has saved our lives by keeping us from some terrible accident that could have happened up ahead.”
Then my friend quoted a verse I’ve since memorized and often consider when “irritating stuff” happens to my plans…
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
From that day on – even on September 11th, I realize that my job is to love God, study His purposes in my life, and listen for His call. His job is to cause everything to work together for good.
So the next time you’re interrupted in your plan for the day, don’t get angry and sit fuming at the circumstance. Think of God’s love, God’s mercy, and God’s grace. Rejoice that He’s in control, knows what He’s doing, and works everything out for good.
Obviously on a day like 9/11, not everything that happens is good. Families can have sad, sad circumstances of loss and pain – in and of itself not good. But from the sorrow lives are focused, changed, and in some cases enhanced with purpose – all of which can work out for the ultimate good. And can, in the hearts of Christians, give glory to a loving, merciful, sovereign, and mighty God.
“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3–5
Think about it….