Thursday, December 30, 2010

When Things Don't Go As Planned

Ever have one of those days when things didn’t go as planned? Wish you would have just stayed in bed? All of us have had small things go wrong in our lives. They give us a small headache and slight discomfort. But, sometimes, it is bigger than burned toast and lost car keys. Sometimes, the world around you is falling apart. Even if you had a backup plan, it too can seem hopeless.

Sometimes the plans you had for your life are interrupted, shall I say blind-sided, by “dream-crushers”. Maybe the plans for your job, children, marriage have failed. Who would have thought they would be jobless at age 46? Maybe your perfect marriage of 20 years has been suddenly interrupted by adultery and divorce. Perhaps you find out that your kid has been on drugs or is even in jail? Sometimes bad news hits us between the eyes like a ton of bricks. Cancer. The death of a child. Three months, maybe weeks, to live. Everybody has dreams but it can feel like they have all been swept away in a moment when things don’t go as you had planned.

Maybe none of these things have happened to you. Maybe tragedy has passed you by. But maybe you still feel like your dreams will never come. Something always seems to sideline what you feel like is best for your life. The things we assume are going to happen to us in life don’t always happen.

A lot of times when we are faced with any kind of trial we are blown away. We assume that our plans and aspirations are what God intended for our lives. Why aren’t they happening? Why isn’t my “storybook ending” working out? When things don’t go as planned, we are left empty and spinning our wheels.

John 16:33 is an amazing verse. Jesus and the disciples had been doing great things all around them. The disciples are seeing their lives fulfilled. No longer are they fishermen and tax-collectors. No longer are they reject rabbis. They have purpose. But Jesus just rocked their world and told them He was going away. What! You can’t Jesus. Life is good. We are finding our purpose. This is not how things are supposed to go. Then, like only Jesus can, He comforts their grief. He says to them, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

What was Jesus saying to them? The same thing He is saying to you and me today. Our purpose is found in Him but we have to remember to look to Christ as our only source of fulfillment. We will have trouble in this world - expect it. But Jesus offers peace. He has overcome the world. When Jesus said, “But take heart,” He was offering healing to a broken heart. He was giving peace to a disappointed soul. He was supplying hope in the midst of a storm.

Christ is our anchor when the world is tossing our lives back and forth. When our lives start to be rocked by this hurtful world, we need to remember to look to Christ’s cross as a reminder of what God has done to redeem our circumstances. God loves you. The plans for your life are trivial compared to the ones He has for you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It goes on to say that when you call on God, He will listen. When you seek Him with your whole heart, you will find Him.

Maybe you don’t understand what is going on in your life right now. But remember to trust God. Trust is what you need when you don’t possess understanding. If you are desperate for answers and relief, trust in Jesus. He knows the plan for your life. He desires to walk you through each step, including the painful ones. Remember the last part of Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” The suffering all of us endure in this fallen world can seem unbearable without the joy and peace that only Christ can bring. While we may be utterly desperate and unprepared when suffering comes, Christ is a solid rock (1 Corinthians 10:4). “On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

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