When There is Only One Plan

This post first appeared in August 2013 in The Pastor’s Post, on Bethany EMC website.  I wrote it as a guest blog for my husband.  I wanted to repost it because there is a POSTSCRIPT to this!  So this one comes first and then I’ll blog about what has happened and how Plan B has worked out for us in a couple of days!  Tell you where it’s taken us!  It’s good, so you’ll want to check back in!

It’s the end of August.  Less than a week before school starts and there are some major changes happening in our household.  I’m not a last minute sort of person when it comes to major decisions.  Nor do I like big changes to my routine, even if the routine has not been in place for two months.  What I like even less is when my plans change.

Over the weekend I heard a sermon about how Paul planned for A but ended up with Plan B.  How his disappointment was an appointment by God.  I can relate.  More than I’m comfortable with.  My life has a decidedly B feel to it.  (And B meaning that it’s not what I planned for.  Still struggle with the appointment part. )  My plan A for my kids has taken a detour.  It’s now a Plan B.

Plan A for my children was for them to attend public school in south-western Ontario where from Jr. Kindergarten to Gr. 8 they would learn the three R’s, at a school where they had friends and great teachers.  That country school that looked out onto corn fields for miles.  I realize that my view of this school has taken on a rather rose coloured hue.  It only lasted until they were in grades one and two.  Then we landed 280ish km away in a new city and a new public school.  Which saying it was a disaster, it putting it mildly!

As a result we are now at Plan B.  Private school.  I said I’d never do it.  It’s not a commentary on private vs. public.  In our situation, with a dad who’s a pastor, I felt our kids lived in enough of a bubble that the public school was the only way to go.  But a year and a half of struggle and stress and anxiety had led us down this road.  So with a week to go until school starts, they have just been enrolled in a private Christian school.  I’m struggling with it.  I wanted my plan A.  There are some very good reasons to stick to plan A.  But there are equally good reasons to switch it up to plan B.  My fear of change and my fear of making a wrong decision has me digging in my heels.  Is there really a “right” answer to our plans: A’s or B’s?

I’ve thought about this sermon a lot in the last few days.  It struck me that perhaps with God there isn’t really a plan A or B but rather there is just HIS PLAN.  We may think it’s plan B but it’s the plan that was in place all along.  This theme runs throughout the bible.  Esther didn’t plan on being a queen.  I’m sure she thought she’d be a regular mom and wife.  Instead she was basically kidnapped and taken to the palace to compete in a beauty competition to become Queen.  She won SO she could save her people from a deadly fate.  God had that all figured out well ahead of time.  For Esther it may have seemed like Plan B but it wasn’t.

Jesus was late showing up for sick Lazarus so he went to the grave.  Four days he lay dead.  When Jesus arrived Mary and Martha had been waiting and waiting for him.  I’m sure they thought this was Plan B.  But it wasn’t.  Jesus had it all worked out.  He raised his friend from the dead and God was glorified. Mary, Martha and the disciples as well as everyone who has read that story since, got a glimpse of how time doesn’t really matter in God’s kingdom.  He’s not racing the clock or pushing it forward.  God is time’s master not the other way around.  HIS PLAN is always on time.

These Plan B’s have God’s fingerprints all over them.  They would be impossible without him in it.  A Jewish maiden becoming Queen of Persia?  A man dead days, comes walking out of the tomb?  Our little Plan B is an impossibilty on so many levels that it has to be Him directing this or else we are just plain crazy!  The impossibility of it all actually comforts me because I know he has to be in it.  Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible.  But with God everything is possible.”  Matthew 19:26 NLT

Although it’s comforting, in a world that pushes Plan A as the only way, it’s hard not to be disappointed with Plan B.  It’s ok to be disappointed.  It’s a very natural response.  I’m sure Esther grieved the loss of her normal life. Martha verbalized that she believed that if only Jesus had come sooner, Lazarus would not have died. (John 11)  Disappointment is natural, it’s what we do with it in the end that matters.  I am disappointed with the public school that the boys have attended in our new city.  I’m disappointed that they have to pack up and move to another school and be the new kids again.  That they have to make a whole new set of friends and leave some new old friends behind.  In fact, I’m not sure who’s taking it harder, me or them. I’m white-knuckling the Plan A.  If I let my fingers relax the hold on Plan A, maybe I could embrace just THE PLAN.  After all Esther became a Queen who saved her people.  Purim still acknowledges that event and celebrates it.  Lazarus, a dead man, walked out of the tomb to live out his life.  Yeah maybe I just need to embrace THE PLAN, HIS PLAN, and trust that He is good and faithful.  See where it takes us.

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