May 31, 2021

Not According to Plan

 Devotion for the Week...

Our dishwasher died almost two weeks ago. I know. Feel free to take a moment to mourn with me. Because we live in a small town, there were no dishwashers to be had locally, so we had to order one. That finally arrived on Thursday. When Paul looked at all that would need to be done to switch out the old one and install the new one, he realized he needed to redo some of the plumbing under the sink because there was a valve missing and he might as well get it done right while he had the chance. That meant it would be a Saturday job, not a Thursday evening job.

Saturday morning he headed to the hardware store to get what he needed. Unfortunately, the hardware store didn't have all of what he needed, which meant a road trip to get those parts. Towns in rural Newfoundland are well spread out, so it was mid-afternoon before he was back and could actually start the work. Things went really well for a couple of hours, until he hit a snag that requires more things be bought. Of course, that snag occurred after the hardware store closed at 5:00. Also, of course, the hardware stores aren't open on Sundays. This isn't exactly going according to the plan!

At this point, we can run water in the sink, but we can't drain it out, since there are no drain pipes in place. So we're washing dishes in a large bowl, that then has to be dumped elsewhere. It's a minor inconvenience, in the grand scheme of things, but I'll still be very happy when those drain pipes are back and the new dishwasher is installed!

Proverbs 16:9 says, "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." Sometimes our plans are for little things, like getting a new dishwasher in place. Other times, our plans are for large things, like careers, where we will live or how many children we'll have. Either way, it's helpful to have a bit of flexibility for those times when things don't go the way we were planning.

The apostle Paul knew a lot about having his plans change. There were shipwrecks and beatings that I'm sure he never planned on. He wrote to the believers in Rome, saying, "One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours" (Romans 1:10-12). Paul did get the opportunity to travel to Rome, but it was as a prisoner. I doubt that was in his plan, either.

The thing about Paul is that he just rolled with it. Sure, he was a prisoner, but he was allowed visitors, so people came to hear him teach rather than him going to them. His guards were a captive audience. Even though Paul himself was actually the captive, they had to stay with him and I can only imagine how many times they heard the gospel either preached directly to them or indirectly as Paul was teaching someone else.

Did Paul hate his circumstances and wish they were different? Maybe. There's no record of it, but there are plenty of details left out of the Bible and it's possible Paul wished fervently for freedom. But even if he did, he spent his time making the most of the situation he was given. 
even when life doesn't look like we planned, we can still trust that God is determining our steps |
We may long for our situation to be different, to look more like what we planned. But even when life doesn't look like we planned, we can still trust that God is determining our steps and that He has a plan for us. It may not be life according to our plan, but it is according to His plan.

1 comment:

  1. We've had a number of things NOT go our according to our plans over our 39 years of marriage - and we always discovered that it was because God had other plans, or was protecting us from negative events that soon came our way. While we still occasionally like to think that we are "in charge" of our lives, we've come to accept that God knows how to protect us!


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