Message Mondays (When Our Plans Become Awry)

Have you ever wondered what it means to be fully at peace with your life, currently where you’re at? The moment in your life where, even though everything chaotic is happening around you, you are still at peace, both two feet firmly planted on the ground of certainty and identity, even if everything else around you is crumbling apart? It’s an art, being able to firmly believing that you are loved unconditionally, even if everyone else gives love that is opposite to what you believe. And I don’t think that many of us have managed and discovered that art yet. To answer honestly my question that I posed earlier in the paragraph, no, I don’t think at any moment, I’m fully content and at peace with my life. I don’t think anyone is. And therein lies my point- that even if we cannot be fully at ease with the life we live, we at least can rest in the fact that Christ Jesus has our lives in His hands, and that everything that we experience, good or bad, can and will be used in whatever way the Lord sees fit, for His own glory and our good. Pretty cool, right? Knowing that even if we don’t have our lives all figured out, that we can rest assured, knowing that whatever we experience will be to the betterment of ourselves as whatever we go through will point other people to the God who has changed our lives for the better?

Everyone has plans. From A to B, from high school to university, from acing subjects to being a hot-shot lawyer, teacher, actor, sportsman, whatever _____ that you are into at the moment. We also have plans about our own personal lives as well, get married by 25, have a couple of kids, own your own home, and have that Australian dream we all admire. Maybe even teach our kids to be sporty- introduce rugby or cricket to them at a young age. Preferably have all the family grow up in a Christian home. And maybe, just maybe, be married to our spouse for a very, very long time, before Christ takes us all home to paradise.

Not a bad plan with our lives right? But what happens when our life isn’t how we planned it out to be, either in a positive sense or a negative sense? What happens if we’re catapulted to stardom at a young age, or are still trying to make our dreams become reality by the age of 30? Life isn’t all about following the script, mixing A and B together to make C. Sure 90% of the time it happens, but the other ten percent? Let’s just say that if our lives were as smooth sailing as we wanted them to be, then there’d be no growth, there’d be no reliance on our Father. I’m not saying that God causes all the roadblocks in our lives for kicks. I’m not even saying that God causes all the difficult things in our lives at all. But rather, it just happens, because of life and because of sin. And rather than letting us drown in the midst of these difficulties, God walks beside us, using our pain and hurt to refine us more into sons and daughters of Christ, as we can testify when we’re through of the season of pain that God was faithful, that God used what we thought was the worst thing that happened and made something beautiful- showing us in the process that there is nothing too fargone that He can make new and great.

It’s ok to have plans. I’m not against having plans. Believe me, I’ve had my own set of plans way back when I was a teenager that haven’t come into fruition at this moment. And through what I’ve experienced, I’ve realised that sometimes its ok to not know. It’s ok not to know what’s going to happen in a year’s time, because frankly, we won’t know. We’ll have our hopes and dreams and things we want to accomplish, but in the end, all we can do is just love our God and love each other, be faithful with what we do have, and be receptive and active to what God shows you to accomplish where you’re at. Once we respond to God’s prompting in the everyday, we can be at peace, not because our own plans are coming into fruition, but rather we’ll be at peace because all we need to worry about it placing one foot in front of the other- and that God can take care of the rest. Because, to strive and worry and figure out our lives, especially when we may not know what we’re going to have for dinner at the end of the day, can take a toll on us, physically, mentally and even spiritually. Lately I’ve taken comfort in this passage in the book of Matthew-

If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Matthew 6:25-34 (The Message)

Pretty great, isn’t it? Knowing that the God who takes care of sparrows and wildflowers is taking care of us? If we know the enormity of this fact, we can rest, rest in the arms of our Father, rest knowing that sure our plans may be awry, but as long as we are trusting God in whatever situation we find ourselves in, He will show up, and ultimately bring us more than we can fathom and comprehend. While I may not be in a relationship yet, nor have I moved out of home, I still know who I am- that regardless of how I may feel, regardless of what my circumstances, life, or even the devil may tell me, that I am fully, unconditionally loved and accepted, loved by the King who moved heaven and earth for me to travel back to Him. That even if I fall, stumble and mess up again and again, His grace is waiting for me, new each morning. That while I may have plans, His plans are better, and if it means shattering my own plans apart so that I can see His glory and notice things placed before me that I may have been blinded towards before, then so be it. To be content in that place of assurance and trust in a moment of uncertainly requires much more than human strength. Yet once we realise that it’s ok to not have it all figured out, that’s when the worry starts to drop and freedom begins.

“Something Beautiful”, a recent song by Steven Curtis Chapman, has been speaking to me about this issue I’ve delved into in this Message Mondays post. Listening to it has given me comfort and clarity, knowing that God’s plan is ever the more beautiful, marvellous, different, unique, and immensely more perfect than we can say we have for ourselves. It is the chorus that really hounds in the message-

And God says ‘I’m gonna turn it into something different
I’m gonna turn it into something good, I’m gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only I could
So put it all in the hands of the Father, give it up, give it all over to
The only One who can turn it into something beautiful
Something really beautiful

As we soak into the message this song presents and as I finish my post, let me ask a few questions. Do you really believe that God will make beautiful things out of the messiest parts of your lives? Have you had a plan and find that it was shot to bits half-way through? Are you content knowing that God’s plans are way more perfect and amazing than yours? Any song, like “Something Beautiful” for me, that has given you comfort over the years? Let us know in the comments. Til next time.

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