Do you ever long for something in life to hurry up with an answer to prayer? Or get frustrated if your schedule for the day (or your plan for your week or month or even year) flops? How tightly do we twirl our lives around our expectations and our timetable? Where is God’s plan? And where, we should be asking, is our surrender to it?
For sure, I’m not suggesting an aimless, lack of worthy goals or structure for orderliness in our homes or personal lives, but I do notice something in our generation that I want us to think about today.
We love our planners, our organization books and courses, our techniques for how we will simplify our lives, leave a margin, and lessen our stress. We believe so strongly in our power to control our time that we have become quite unwilling to have things interrupt us or divert our attention from our plan. While yes, it is very important to lay aside the weights of worthless things in order to pursue the more important things, our perspective on a Christian’s time management shouldn’t end there.
Sometimes, despite all of the trimmings we do to eliminate “stress” or try not to add to our schedules anything more than what WE desire, we can find ourselves disappointed as things get put into our hours and days that we had not planned for, and sometimes, those things overlap – that is, one thing isn’t finished and settled before the next unexpected addition to our plate arrives.
Sometimes, guilt is unwittingly laid on Christians we know who keep getting hit with crisis after crisis – you might wonder, can’t they learn to control or manage things orderly and serenely, one step at a time? Maybe if they had more faith? A better diet? More balance in their involvements? And why doesn’t that butterfly get up and fly sooner? However, it is not always the fault of the person for situations they deal with. Of course, sometimes they are suffering consequences of poor choices in life but sometimes, these stresses may simply be part of the “refining process”. And there is nothing that a hunk of metal can do to control or simplify the fire if they want to come through it shining in the end! We need to remember that the One Who controls those temperatures is the One Who knows best.
I like scheduling things and organizing. Some plans that I look back to from years ago I can chuckle or groan over. What was I thinking??! Some plans I like to repeat more or less so I’ll try them again – they seem to be the more flexible ones and in my real life, I need major flexibility! Or perhaps I should say it more like this: I need more surrender – a more surrendered life, yielded to God’s plan for my day, my week, my year, my situation. So I need to remind myself of this when I write out my goals and schedules.
Over the years, I have often remembered a poem, known as “Disappointed”, that I heard in a sermon while working at Muskoka Bible Center as a teenager. The pastor that week, was Dr. Charles U. Wagner, who became one of my favourite speakers. As a busy mom often facing many complexities, I have learned that it is best to awake and commit the day’s activities into God’s plan for it. Not that I don’t make plans, – I do – and I make an effort to follow a plan. But I also try not to get upset if those plans change because, I truly want God to be in charge of my day and life’s experiences – He does a much better job at it than I and I can trust that HE will work things for my good.
Daily commit your plans to the Lord and then, expect that there will likely be some unexpected things that He will allow or send into that day, for whatever reason. Read Psalm 37. Hold your plan for your life, your family decisions, and even today’s “simple” timetable with an open hand, not a tight fist. Be willing to have it “subject to changes” by Someone Who sees the bigger picture. ♥
The LORD is good – a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him. Nahum 1:7 (NIV)
Disappointed – My scheduled plans,
The hopes I had for future years,
The aspirations of my heart,
Are scattered now a thousand ways.
“You’re scheduled plans?
But what are they? Compared to
My most perfect will?”
His voice at first seems stern,
And then I heard Him say – “Be still.”
“Be still, my child,” He said to me,
“I see beyond those dreams sublime,
I know where they would lead;
The hurting heartache you would find;
What pleases now would disappoint you
In a future, distant day,
And what disappoints you now –
Is My appointment for fair way.
Some day you’ll know My way was best,
Those fleshly plans and ways, you’ll see,
Were superseded by a greater plan:
The choice design of Deity!”
– from Treasures in Trust quoted by Charles Wagner in a sermon at M.B.C. in the 1990’s; included on this blog with my appreciation to his family.